Taliban agree three-day Eid ceasefire in Afghanistan

Afghan Taliban announces Eid ceasefire for first time

It wound down its combat mission in 2014 but its Resolute Support mission comprises nearly 16,000 troops from around 40 countries.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the Taliban move was an opportunity for the militants to realise "their violent campaign" was "not winning them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause".

He said the Afghan security forces immediately responded to the attack by deploying forces and at least eight militants were killed in the retaliatory fire.

It is the first time in almost 17 years that the militants have declared a cessation of violence, albeit a limited one, since the government it ran was toppled by the 2001 US-led invasion.

"We welcome the three days ceasefire announced by the Taliban starting on the first day of Eid". "We wanted them to be confident that we also won't do any operations".

The militants said foreign forces would be excluded from the ceasefire and that operations against them would continue.

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

Even a brief cessation of hostilities would bring welcome relief to civilians in the war-torn country, where they are paying a disproportionate price in casualties as a result of the conflict.

The presidential palace welcomed the announcement and said it hoped it can lead to lasting peace.

Afghan Taliban announces Eid ceasefire for first time

The clerics were themselves targeted in a suicide attack claimed by IS, which killed 14 people at the entrance to their peace tent in Kabul.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement to media.

In February Ghani unveiled a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban, including eventually recognizing them as a political party.

The Trump administration has sent additional troops to try to change the course of America's longest war. Mattis spoke to reporters during a break in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence ministers meeting.

In recent years, a resurgent Taliban has taken control of significant swaths of the country and terrorized citizens and foreigners alike.

According to local news reports, at least two dozen members of Afghan security forces were killed in Taliban attacks on Friday and Saturday.

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

Ghani proposed a ceasefire and a release of prisoners among a range of options including new elections involving the armed group, 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 Afghan civilians.

Amani said that seven other forces were wounded in the attack late Frday night near Sari Pul city.

Putin Tells Europe on US Trade Threat: 'I Told You So'
He added, however, that he could pull them out of the country quickly if necessary. "Utter idiocy. You can't describe this as anything other than a joke".

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