Taliban orders its first ceasefire in 17-year battle

Afghan Taliban announce surprise three-day Eid ceasefire

Afghan Taliban announce surprise three-day Eid ceasefire

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.

Ghani first spoke about the possibility of a ceasefire with the militant Islamist group in February, when he announced that the Afghan government was willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party as part of a potential agreement.

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.

The Taliban have pledged to continue their operations against foreign forces.

Nick Kay, the United Kingdom ambassador to Afghanistan, described the ceasefire announcement as an important statement in pursuit of the peace.

The Taliban had denounced the gathering, insisting its fight against what it considers are foreign invaders was justified.

Ghani made his surprise offer in a televised speech on Thursday, saying it would give the Taliban a chance to reconsider their "violent campaign" during the last days of Ramadan. "We should reach for sustainable peace throughout the country".

It would last "from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr", Ghani tweeted from an official account, indicating it could run from June 12-19. At the time he also called for a ceasefire.

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.

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

But it added that 'if the mujahideen are attacked we will strongly defend (ourselves)'.

But he did not touch the issue of presence or withdrawal of foreign troops, a key demand of the insurgents. It is underpinned both by the heavy daily toll of the long war on ordinary Afghans and U.S. President Donald Trump's limited patience for the costly U.S. involvement here.

Four people were killed and five wounded by unidentified gunmen in a separate attack on a lawmaker's Nangarhar home on Friday.

In its statement, the Afghan Taliban said it would allow prisoners to visit with families and asked for the group's regional leaders to commute some prisoners' sentences.

In the meantime, Taliban insurgents have continued to carry out attacks.

Ghani proposed a ceasefire and a release of prisoners among options including new elections involving the militants 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 civilians.

In northern Kunduz province, at least 13 local policemen were killed early Saturday when their checkpoint came under an attack by Taliban fighters, said Nematullah Temori, spokesman for the provincial governor.

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