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Iran welcomes temporary ceasefire between Taliban, Afghan gov't

11 June, 2018, 17:01 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Governance & Politics

On Sunday, at least 13 police personnel were killed on Sunday when Taliban militants attacked a security checkpoint in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.

President Ashraf Ghani announced Thursday that his government was ordering a temporary ceasefire between June 12 and June 21, the period this year in which Muslims celebrate the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.

While one attacker detonated himself near the building, the other three were killed in a gunfight with security forces, officials said.

Now headed by Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada after a USA drone strike killed Mansour in Pakistan in 2016, the main Taliban group said its cease-fire during the three days of the Eid celebration would only apply to government forces, not their foreign backers.

The Taliban statement said worldwide forces in the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation coalition would still be the target of attacks.

The government announced the cease-fire last week.

"All the mujahideen are directed to stop offensive operations against Afghan forces for the first three days of Eid-al-Fitr", the Taliban said in a WhatsApp message.

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. "I hope the bold initiatives towards peace taken by President Ghani will be respected by all parties", Modi said at the summit, also attended by Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain.

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It was not clear exactly when the ceasefire would begin, as Eid starts when the moon is first sighted, but Afghan calendars mark Friday June 15 as the end of Ramadan.

The Helmand Peace March's strength caught both the government and the Taliban off-guard. Around 10 insurgents were also killed and nine others wounded during the battle, he said.

Ghani said the ceasefire would not prevent the security forces from carrying out their operations against the Daesh terror group.

Although no official date of the ceasefire had been announced, local press outlets indicated Tuesday as the first day of the truce.

All the deaths were claimed by the Taliban.

A woman in Kabul told AFP that three days was not enough and instead "we should reach for a sustainable peace throughout the country". An unknown number of Taliban fighters also were killed, according to the Defense Ministry.

He said there was a report of a single Taliban casualty but the group has not commented.

The Afghan Taliban, including the Haqqani network, has sought refuge in Pakistan for over 16 years and now we have asked Pakistan to cooperate and assist in the peace process, she added.

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