Taliban leaders declare Eid ceasefire with Afghan forces

Hoshang Hashimi—AFP

Hoshang Hashimi—AFP

Hours before yesterday's announcement, Taleban militants stormed an Afghan military base in the western province of Herat, killing at least 17 soldiers, officials said.

The Afghan Taliban on Saturday announced a surprise three-day ceasefire over the Muslim Eid holiday in the middle of June, their first offer of its kind, days after the government declared an unconditional ceasefire of its own.

At least 15 security personnel killed in a Taliban attack in Kunduz province of Afghanistan, a local news agency reported.

The Taliban claimed the attack in a statement to media.

However, Taliban said in its statement that its forces would attack the foreign soldiers stationed in the war-torn country.

This follows the recent announcement by the Afghan Government that it would begin a seven-day ceasefire on 12 June, the 27th day of Ramadan, and run to Eid-ul-Fitr. "I hope the bold initiatives towards peace taken by President Ghani will be respected by all parties", Modi said at the summit, also attended by Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain.

In 2015, the Afghan government and the Taliban held first-ever direct talks in Murree.

The Taliban has been waging a bitter fight in Afghanistan with the ultimate goal of ruling the country and imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

'The government is hopeful thatthis will become a long-term process and will result in a sustainable peace.'

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It is the first time since the US -led invasion of Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban regime in 2001 that the militants have declared a cease-fire, albeit a limited one.

Earlier this week, the USA military said it would observe the government cease-fire with the Taliban while continuing its activities against the Islamic State.

Last month, eight people were killed and 45 were wounded in a bomb attack on Ramadan night-time cricket tournament.

The group split off from the core Taliban in 2015, following news that the group founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, had died two years earlier in Pakistan and that his death had been hidden from many of his followers.

"We have been stopping fighting during the Eid days, but we would not announce it publicly due to security reasons", Mujahid said. They also said they would defend themselves against any attack.

"Only three days the Taleban are not killing us".

"Our beloved nation is thirsty for peace, so for the sake of the Afghan people we hope for more trust-building efforts", council spokesman Sayed Ehsan Tahiri told the Journal.

There was no report of other casualties.

Elsewhere in Ghazni, at least three local police and 10 Taliban fighters were killed in clashes, Noori said.

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