Taliban call 3-day ceasefire in Afghanistan as Ramadan ends

Afghanistan Kunduz Taliban attack leaves 21 dead

Taliban call 3-day ceasefire in Afghanistan as Ramadan ends

At least 19 Afghan police officers were killed Saturday in a pre-dawn raid by the Taliban on a base in the northern province of Kunduz, officials said, hours before the militants announced an unprecedented ceasefire starting next week.

Iran Foreign Ministry said Sunday that it welcomes the agreement between Afghan government and the Taliban militants on a ceasefire on Eid al-Fitr celebrations that mark the end of Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

At least 41 people were killed and 14 others injured in separate violent attacks across two Afghan provinces, authorities said on Monday.

In past years, Mujahid said, the Taliban have instructed their fighters to abstain from attacks; but they could not announce that publicly out of fear that the government and the U.S. military would take advantage of it and amplify attacks. They say foreign forces are excluded from the cease-fire and Taliban operations would continue against them.

The Taliban's announcement Saturday of a temporary cease-fire did more than offer hope in war-weary Afghanistan for a quiet Eid al-Fitr, one of the most important holidays in the Islamic year.

The progress in the secret talks was the main reason behind the recent thaw in otherwise troubled ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Taliban has been waging a bitter fight in Afghanistan with the ultimate goal of ruling the country and imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law. "Since our people are under occupation, jihad is incumbent on us", he said in a message to the Washington Post.

More than 50 Afghan security personnel have been killed over the past 24 hours as anti-government militants intensified activities amid government's peace efforts to encourage Taliban outfit for entering the peace dialogue.

Pakistani officials; however, told The Express Tribune that the ceasefire between the Afghan government and insurgents were being discussed quietly for past several weeks.

All the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said while Pakistan played the role of a facilitator, it was China that acted as mediator between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

More than 10,000 civilians were killed or wounded in 2017, down nine percent from the previous year, United Nations figures show.

A woman in Kabul told AFP that three days was not enough and instead "we should reach for a sustainable peace throughout the country".

The attack occurred as employees were leaving their offices early for Ramadan, police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.

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

Wadir Safi, a professor of global law and politics at Kabul University, said the Taliban's decision was an acknowledgment that, despite their ability to pose a serious challenge to the state and maintain control over vast areas of rural Afghanistan, it would be equally unable to achieve its goals through force.

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