Afghan Taliban raise hopes with surprise Eid ceasefire

11 June, 2018, 01:29 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Afghan Taliban announces Eid ceasefire for first time

The Taliban have announced a three-day ceasefire with Afghan government forces for Eid, later this month, but it will not apply to foreign forces.

The deputy spokesman for the Afghan president welcomed the Taliban's agreement to the government ceasefire proposal for Eid al-Fitr, expressing hope that the decision can lead to lasting peace.

A Taliban statement released early on Saturday said its commanders had also been told to free captives they were sure would not rejoin Government forces.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which came a day after the insurgents stormed a military base in the western province of Herat, killing 17 Afghan soldiers.

"Mujahideen are instructed to halt offensives against local opponents, but defend if they are attacked", the group said.

However, U.S. -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces are exempt from the ceasefire, with the Taliban saying they would continue to attack "foreign invaders", the Wall Street Journal reported.

Pakistan today expressed support for peace efforts in Afghanistan, hours after the Taliban announced its first ceasefire in the war-torn country in almost 17 years.

"We welcome the three days ceasefire announced by the Taliban starting on the first day of Eid".

But analysts were cautious, warning that the Taliban and its brutal arm the Haqqani Network could launch attacks on behalf of the Daesh group, which they are believed to have done previously.


Officials from the U.S. -NATO coalition hope the move will push Kabul into expediting the process of verifying the identities of ANDSF troops through biometric data.

In its statement, the Afghan Taliban said it would allow prisoners to visit with families and asked for the group's regional leaders to commute some prisoners' sentences.

An Afghan security force member stands guard in front of the Marshal Fahim military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan January 29, 2018.

"(Operations against ISIS) will continue, in fact will be even intensified during this period of ceasefire", U.S. Army General John Nicholson, commander of United States and global forces in Afghanistan, told reporters.

In late February, Ghani also offered the Taliban a chance to be recognized as a legitimate political party and withdraw their names from worldwide sanctions lists in exchange for peace.

Farhad said one soldier was wounded. He added that eight Taliban attackers were killed and more than a dozen others were wounded during the gun battle.

Last month, the Pentagon said that senior Taliban officials have been secretly negotiating with Afghan officials on a possible ceasefire.

Still, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the Times that Saturday's announcement of Taliban cease-fire was unrelated to the government's actions.

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