Senate, cleric body welcome Taliban's ceasefire

11 June, 2018, 22:55 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Taliban leaders declare Eid ceasefire with Afghan forces

A statement sent from the president's office on Thursday said the government's cease-fire will begin on 27 Ramadan, or June 12 on the Western calendar, and last through the end of the Eid al-Fitr festival, or around June 19.

The Taliban announced their first ceasefire in Afghanistan since the 2001 USA invasion on Saturday, with a three-day halt in hostilities against the country's security forces that was greeted with relief by war-weary Afghans.

Now headed by Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada after a US drone strike killed Mansour in Pakistan in 2016, the main Taliban group said its cease-fire during the three days of the Eid celebration would only apply to government forces, not their foreign backers.

A statement released Saturday by the Taliban said that they would defend themselves in case of any attack.

We welcome the initiatives for ceasefire in Afghanistan during Eid-ul-Fitr, mooted first by the Afghan government and then also by the Afghan Taliban.

At least 10 Afghan soldiers were killed and five others wounded after Taliban attacked joint security checkpoints in northern Kunduz province today.

On the other hand, similar attacks occurred on Saturday, Jun 9, in a border district with Tajikistan, in which about 20 soldiers of the Afghan security forces were killed.

Jarett Blanc, a former United States diplomat who was involved in earlier efforts to start a peace process with the Taliban, said the cease-fire provides an opportunity for both sides to demonstrate control over their armed forces.

President Ghani had also hoped that the Taliban group would observe the ceasefire. It was not immediately clear how many of them were among those killed.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for carrying out both the attacks, saying it also overran several security posts and seized military equipment, including weapons.

Although the Taliban's cease-fire was not in direct response to Ghani's offer, it remains a rare positive sign for the troubled peace process.

In the 17 years the war has been going on, this is the first time Afghans have officially experienced an armistice between the Afghan government and Taliban.

Relatives of the victims mourn at a hospital after a suicide attack in Kabul on June 11.

An hour after the fatwa was issued, a suicide bomber detonated outside the gathering, killing seven people.

He said there was a report of a single Taliban casualty but the group has not commented.

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



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