Afghan forces seize huge bomb-making cache at Pakistan border

At least 41 killed in Afghanistan violence

The Taliban attacked security outposts in the Zawul district of western Herat province on Friday night, killing 17 troops and wounding several, Jelani Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor, said.

A breakaway Taliban group has declared a truce with the Afghan government, following news last week that Kabul would stand down its offensive operations against insurgents at the end of Ramadan through the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

The Taliban announced the upcoming ceasefire on Saturday, saying they would continue to defend themselves if attacked and would continue targeting foreign forces.

The Afghan Taliban followed the Afghanistan government's lead, and announced a three-day cease-fire over the Eid al-Fitr.

The Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack, the group's AMAQ news agency said.

Afghanistan has suffered a recent uptick in violence despite reports in March that suggested some factions of the Taliban had expressed interest in pursuing peace talks with the Afghan government.

The Taliban's cease-fire is expected to run from June 15 to June 17.

It was not the first time that Pakistan and China brokered a deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Shah Jahan posted: "I hope this is a step towards peace".

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President Ashraf Ghani's ceasefire declaration on Thursday came on the heels of a fatwa issued by Afghanistan's top clerics branding suicide attacks "haram", or forbidden.

Conversations with diplomats and senior officials in Kabul suggest that the unilateral cease-fire announced by the government had not been coordinated with the Taliban or the outcome of a broader, cohesive peace effort.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said this could, for example, allow the U.S.to partially shift the focus of aerial surveillance from the Taliban to IS fighters as well as al-Qaida extremists, who remain a threat 17 years after the USA invaded.

Wadir Safi, a professor of worldwide 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.

No one immediately claimed the attack in Kot district, but both the Taliban and IS are active in eastern Afghanistan, especially in Nangarhar.

"The question now is, is the United States willing to accept negotiations with the Taliban?"

But residents of a number of provinces said they are happy that they will get a few peaceful days during Eid. Asif Shinwari, head of Education Department for Nangarhar said that gunmen have attacked the education department's building in Jalalabad.

Ghani in February offered recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group in a proposed political process that he said could lead to talks to end more than 16 years of war.

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