KABUL: Tribal elders in eastern Afghanistan have achieved something that has long eluded world leaders - a ceasefire between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
The month-long stoppage in hostilities in the Alingar district of Laghman province, one of the hardest hit by violence, was called to allow local farmers to harvest their wheat crop and students to sit annual examinations.
"A ceasefire has been something the world's most powerful countries were trying to establish in Afghanistan, but unfortunately, couldn't," Jaber Alkozai, resident of Alingar, told Reuters on Wednesday.
Tribal elders drafted a demand letter, known locally as an "Ariza", which was then signed by two local officials of each the Taliban and the government.
Reuters has reviewed a copy of the letter. There have been no reports of fighting in Alinger since the ceasefire began on Tuesday, despite heavy clashes elsewhere in Laghman.
The ceasefire, which will last until June 21, is not the first such agreement during the war, but it comes at a critical time. Fighting has intensified across the country in the wake of Washington's announcement that it would unconditionally pull out all US troops by September.
Washington-led Western capitals and other influential regional countries have so far been unable to convince the Taliban to halt fighting against Afghan forces for an extended period, despite protracted attempts and talks.