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Iran welcomes Eid al-Fitr ceasefire in Afghanistan

11 June, 2018, 01:33 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi

The Taliban on Saturday announced a surprise three-day ceasefire with the Afghan government for the duration of Eid al-Fitr, the religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

For the festival, Taliban fighters "are instructed to stop their offensive operations against domestic opposition", the militant group's statement said, referring to Afghan forces.

The UN Secretary-General´s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said in a statement he hoped the ceasefires would "serve as a stepping stone" towards peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

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. "We wanted them to be confident that we also won't do any operations".

The Taliban said "foreign occupiers are the exception" to the order sent to its fighters around the country.

Ghani's decision came after a meeting of Islamic clerics declared a fatwa, or ruling, against suicide bombings, one of which, claimed by Islamic State, killed 14 people at the entrance to the clerics' peace tent in Kabul.

Ghani first spoke about the possibility of a ceasefire with the militant Islamist group in February, when he announced that the Afghan government was willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party as part of a potential agreement.

Provincial governor's spokesman Nematullah Temori confirmed that 19 ALP soldiers lost their lives in the attack.




"We're ready to restart talks about peace with Pakistan again and forget bitter experiences of the past and start a new chapter", he said.

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

The U.S. has devoted almost $80 billion in American taxpayer funds to develop the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), which include police and military units, since the war started in October 2001.

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

Farhad said at least 13 others were wounded in the attack.

Temori said seven others were wounded in Qala-e Zal district.

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

Ghani proposed a ceasefire and a release of prisoners among options including new elections involving the militants and a constitutional review in a pact with the Taliban to end a conflict that past year alone killed or wounded more than 10,000 civilians.

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