Afghanistan’s president extends ceasefire with Taliban

18 June, 2018, 08:33 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Islamic State kills 26 people in car bomb during Taliban-led ceasefire

A suicide bomber attacked near a governor's compound in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Sunday, killing at least 18 people and wounding at least 49, Nangarhar provincial spokesman Attaullah Khoghyani told CNN.

On Saturday, a suicide attack on a gathering of Taliban, security forces and civilians in a district of the same eastern province of Nangarhar killed at least 36 people and wounded 65 others, provincial health director Najibullah Kamawal told AFP.

Ghani said in his televised speech that he was ready to discuss the removal of foreign forces, which were excluded from the Taliban's ceasefire and remain a key stumbling block to peace in the eyes of many fighters.

European Union's High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini also said in a statement that the "historic ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban during Eid al-Fitr has given the Afghan people a much-needed respite from 17 years of conflict".

As news of the attack spread, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced he would extend the cease-fire with the Taliban, but did not give a time frame for the extension.

"The ceasefire ends tonight and our operations will begin, God willing".

The Taliban had agreed to a truce but only for the first three days of Eid, which started Friday, promising not to attack Afghan soldiers or police.

The Taliban spokesman rejected rumors that the insurgents would extend their cease-fire late Saturday and on Sunday the Associated Press reported that a Taliban spokesman declared the cease-fire over.

They said "foreign occupiers are the exception" in the ceasefire.

The Taliban announced a ceasefire for the first three days of Eid, which started Friday, promising not to attack Afghan security forces for the first time since the 2001 United States invasion. It overlaps with an Afghan government cease-fire which was due to end on Wednesday before the Afghan president extended the truce.

Villagers also flocked around the insurgents, hugging them and happily taking selfies with the heavily armed fighters as they celebrated the Muslim holiday capping the holy month of Ramadan.

The militants, some wearing traditional headgear, went through the streets of Kabul carrying their flags and urging locals to come forward and take selfies with them. The Taliban announced its own three-day ceasefire - the first one since the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, according to media reports.

The happy moments were interrupted by tragedy when a vehicle bomb detonated in a crowd of celebrants in the eastern city of Nangarhar, about 115 miles southeast of Kabul.

"It was the most peaceful Eid".

"During the cease-fire, we will provide medical assistance to the wounded Taliban, and will provide them any humanitarian assistance if needed", Ghani said on Twitter.

The government also released a number of Taliban militants from jail. We have seen pictures of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan soldiers and police with Taliban fighters offering prayers for Eid side by side.

Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk described the killing of Pakistan Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah in a USA drone strike in Afghanistan as a "significant development in the fight against terrorism". "It is hard to describe the joy". Rampant corruption in the Afghan government and a long tug-of-war within the US-brokered national unity government has had a negative impact on the government's efforts to eradicate terrorism.



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