Taliban agree three-day Eid ceasefire in Afghanistan

Afghan Taliban announces Eid ceasefire for first time

Taliban agree three-day Eid ceasefire in Afghanistan

It would last "from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr", President Ashraf Ghani tweeted from an official account, indicating the ceasefire could run from June 12-19.

In his video message, Ghani said all Afghan security forces would be instructed to stop offensive operations "only on Afghan insurgents", with ISIS, al Qaeda and other global terrorist networks excluded from the ceasefire.

But the Taliban say they will stop fighting for three days.

But it added that "if the mujahideen are attacked we will strongly defend (ourselves)".

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Eid is set to begin on Friday, but the Taliban said it would continue to attack foreign forces in Afghanistan during the festival.

"Should the Taliban take full advantage of the ceasefire in the best interests of the Afghan people, then numerous surveillance assets we have overhead could be re-oriented to ISIS, AQ and other foreign terrorists", he told reporters at the meeting in Brussels.

A Taliban spokesman claimed its fighters killed 35 soldiers and captured six others besides seizing military vehicles and weapons. It is not clear how many Afghan troops the Taliban holds captive. "Let us hope peace prevails", he said. Earlier, they had issued an "Op-ed" on their website criticising the fatwa, and calling it an effort "to legitimise the illegal occupation [of the U.S.]" "The fatwa declared by the Peace Council under the name of the Ulema is full of ignorance and distortion", it read, adding that jihad is also obligatory against "their domestic supporters and puppets", referring to the Afghan government and the U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The Taliban statement said global forces in the USA -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation coalition would still be the target of attacks.

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The two leaders had also discussed ways to give impetus to their economic ties as well as people-to-people relations. The declaration will hold details of the significant mechanism for resisting the global terror activities.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces in Afghanistan, who had increased their offensives, especially airstrikes on insurgent targets, have agreed to respect the ceasefire.

Some diplomats said it came as a bit of a surprise, showing that at one level the government wanted intensified air strikes, but on another it was offering an olive branch. The only time the Afghan government came close to initiating substantive direct talks with the Taliban, in the summer of 2015, the process was derailed by news that the insurgent envoys they were meeting had, in fact, come in the name of a Taliban supreme leader who had died years before, the news of which had been kept secret.

"We hope that (the Taliban) will be committed to implementing their announcement of the cease-fire", he said.

In northern Kunduz province at least 13 local policemen were killed early Saturday when their checkpoint came under an attack by Taliban fighters, said Nematullah Temori, spokesman for the provincial governor. He added that eight Taliban attackers were killed and more than a dozen others were wounded during the gun battle.

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