Afghan president announces Muslim Eid holiday ceasefire with Taliban

Afghanistan Announces Ceasefire With Taliban To Mark Eid Holiday

According to Fayeq, the security forces were under siege of the Taliban militants for several days as heavy clashes were underway before the fall of the district.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani announced three months conditional ceasefire with the Taliban entering into effect from tomorrow and would last till Eid Melad-ul-Nabi.

He added: "So far, there is no news on the fate of the passengers, but tribal elders and local officials are trying to negotiate with the Taliban".

Calling for the truce on Sunday, Ghani said "the ceasefire should be observed from both sides, and its continuation and duration also depend on the Taliban's stand".

The Taliban said in a statement that they had control over half of Afghanistan.

The Taliban have resurged in recent years, seizing entire districts across Afghanistan and regularly carrying out large-scale bombings and attacks that have killed scores of people.

The United States in Monday welcomed the announcement by the Afghan government of a ceasefire conditioned on the Taliban's participation.

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The June ceasefire - the first such truce in the country since the 2001 United States invasion - spurred hopes that a new path was opening for possible peace talks in the country to the end the almost 17-year-old war.

For his part, Ghani said he hoped extensions could also be agreed upon to make the cease-fire last until November 20, which will mark the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed Ghani's announcement and called on the Taliban to participate.

Fighting has been mounting in the Taliban's insurgency against the government in Kabul and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation coalition forces, launched after the Islamist group was ousted from power in a USA -led military intervention in 2001.

This month at least 150 soldiers and 95 civilians were killed in a five-day battle for control of Ghazni.

Though it didn't directly mention Mr. Ghani's cease-fire offer, the Taliban responded immediately by saying it would release hundreds of soldiers, police and other government employees from its jails to mark Eid al-Adha.

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