Afghanistan announces Muslim Eid holiday ceasefire with Taliban

Elias Hubbard
August 20, 2018

"The conditional ceasefire will start tomorrow and it will continue as long as the Taliban preserves and respects it", he said in an Afghan Independence Day ceremony in Kabul.

KABUL-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday proposed a conditional three-month cease-fire in the government's USA -backed war against the Taliban, seeking to regain political momentum following a string of devastating battlefield losses to security forces at the hands of the insurgents.

Taliban's five-day siege of Ghazni ended after Afghan officials declared that they had regained complete control of the city by killing hundreds of Taliban fighters.

At least 150 soldiers and 95 civilians were killed in a five-day siege, which eased last week when Afghan soldiers backed by USA forces pushed back the heavily armed rebels.

In a series of tweets, Ghani said the ceasefire would extend "till the day of the birth of the prophet (PBUH) i.e., Milad-un-Nabi, provided that the Taliban reciprocate".

The announcement followed a bloody week of fighting across Afghanistan which saw the Taliban launch a massive assault against the provincial capital Ghazni.

"The last ceasefire in Afghanistan revealed the deep desire of the Afghan people to end the conflict, and we hope another ceasefire will move the country closer to sustainable security", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

Ghani did not mention any cease in fighting with the Islamic State group, which has expanded since it first emerged in the region in 2014, or any of the other militant groups plaguing Afghanistan.

The government had previously announced a cease-fire with the Taliban during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in June. ISIS has not been a party to ceasefire talks.

Ghani said his administration removed "all obstacles" to peace with the announcement following consultations with religious scholars, political parties and civil society groups. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Twitter said he supports Ghani's announcement and encouraged the Taliban to demonstrate their concern for Afghans by respecting it.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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