The Afghan Defense Minister proposed a ceasefire to the Taliban on Thursday evening to stem the spread of the Coronavirus. The authorities fear that after years of war, the virus will hit the health system in the country very badly.
“We propose a ceasefire to combat this epidemic so that we can care for people all over the country,” said Minister Assadullah Khalid in a video message. Currently, only 22 cases of corona have been identified in Afghanistan, after a total of 300 tests have been carried out.
However, the country with about 35 million inhabitants has minimal health services, making it very important to combat the virus. The majority of the infections were diagnosed in the Herat province, on the border with Iran, which has been severely affected by the virus.
The Taliban, who have been accused in the past of killing humanitarian workers, announced on Monday that they are willing to work with NGOs and the United Nations to overcome the Coronavirus. Khalid said on Thursday that Afghan troops would be allowed to take preventive action if an attack was prepared against them.
1,500 US military personnel in isolation
The US and the Taliban reached an agreement in late February that should lead to the start of peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, but there are still some hurdles to overcome. Meanwhile, the Taliban continue their offensive against Afghan forces.
The United States, meanwhile, has placed 1,500 US military personnel who have arrived in Afghanistan in isolation for fear of spreading the Coronavirus. US operations in the country will be conducted mostly by conference call, and Americans will be as few as possible at military bases.
The US currently has 12,000 troops in Afghanistan but is going to cut that number under the Taliban deal to around 8,600 in the coming months.