Taliban announce brief ceasefire, offering Afghans hope for lull in war

We are in the middle of a new offensive against ISIS in Nangarhar says General John Nicholson

We are in the middle of a new offensive against ISIS in Nangarhar says General John Nicholson

Afghan security officials on Saturday said in the past 24 hours the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), Taliban and Daesh suffered heavy losses in battles in a number of provinces.

It was not immediately clear when the Taliban ceasefire would begin, as Eid starts when the moon is first sighted on either the 29th or 30th day of Ramadan, and the moon appears at different times across the country.

Ghani's decision came after a meeting of Islamic clerics declared a fatwa, or ruling, against suicide bombings, one of which, claimed by Islamic State, killed 14 people at the entrance to the clerics' peace tent in Kabul.

Earlier this week, the US military said it would observe the government cease-fire with the Taliban while continuing its activities against the Islamic State.

The conflict has been at a stalemate for several years, and NATO's best chances of leaving lie in the Taliban agreeing to peace talks and eventually joining the government.

On Friday, senior USA officials said they will intensify combat against Daesh affiliate in the country during the Kabul government's temporary halt to attacks on the Taliban.

The Taliban had denounced the gathering, insisting its fight against what it considers are foreign invaders was justified. Ghani's surprise announcement underscored his desire to establish a peace process that could put an end to a conflict that even his backers say cannot be won militarily.

The ceasefire will last from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr, President Ghani had tweeted last week, indicating it could run from June 12-19.


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced a weeklong cease-fire with the Taliban to coincide with the holiday.

"This ceasefire is an opportunity for Taliban to introspect that their violent campaign is not winning them hearts and minds, but further alienating the #Afghan people from their cause", he added on Twitter.

In the western province of Herat, at least 17 Afghan soldiers were killed when Taliban fighters attacked a checkpoint in the Zawol district, provincial government spokesman Jelani Farhad said.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has led worldwide security efforts in Afghanistan since 2003.

The Trump administration has sent additional troops to try to change the course of America's longest war. It wound down its combat mission in 2014 but its Resolute Support mission comprises nearly 16,000 troops from around 40 countries.

His offer comes amid a rise in attacks by the insurgents, who have gained ground in recent months despite a surge in ground and aerial offensives by U.S. and Afghan forces. Hours before accepting the truce, the militants stormed military bases in western and northern Afghanistan, killing almost 40 soldiers.

But the group said its attacks against US-led troops stationed in the country will continue unabatedly in any area.

Qureshi said eight militants were killed and nine wounded in the clashes.

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