Taliban agrees to unprecedented Eid ceasefire with Afghan forces

Taliban agrees to unprecedented Eid ceasefire with Afghan forces

President Ashraf Ghani announced an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban coinciding with Eid, the end of the Muslim fasting month, but excluding other militant groups, such as Islamic State.

Modi was referring to the Afghan government's surprise announcement of the week-long ceasefire with the Taliban for Eid.

The Taliban announced the upcoming ceasefire on Saturday, saying they would continue to defend themselves if attacked and would continue targeting foreign forces.

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

Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan have killed as many as 65 government soldiers and police officers in three attacks. Many leaders rejected the selection of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as Omar's successor, and objected to the group's establishment of a political office in Qatar, a country that they accused of making secret deals with the USA government.

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

Taliban officials say the ceasefire will be in place for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, a three-day period of festivities at the end of Ramadan.

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The move was greeted with optimism from NATO, with General Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO's supreme commander in Europe, giving an upbeat assessment this week of the struggle against the Taliban. "We hope trust is built on both sides for the extension of the cease-fire for peace talks and negotiations".

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

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

The statement said the Taliban may also consider releasing prisoners of war, if they promise not to return to the battlefield.

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

It has also called for a peace process, but it remains uncertain whether American officials will resume discussions it has had intermittently with Taliban representatives since 2010.

"The Helmand Peace March is the most significant grass-roots peace effort to emerge from Taliban-held areas, a desperate cry for peace in a region ravaged by conflict", Shuja said.

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