Taliban announce three-day Eid ceasefire

Taliban announce three-day Eid ceasefire

Agency News

Kabul, May 24 : The Taliban on Saturday announced a three-day ceasefire with the Afghanistan government on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr. President Ashraf Ghani, welcomed the announcement, saying that his forces would respect the terms of the truce. The move came after the months of bloody fighting between security forces and Taliban.

"In order that our countrymen may celebrate their Eid festivities in ease and comfort, all the Mujahideen... are instructed or ordered by the leadership to take special measures for the security of the countrymen during the three days of Eid al-Fitr and not to attack the enemy anywhere, the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement posted on Twitter. The Taliban fighters were asked not to go to the government areas. The Taliban also asked the Kabul forces not to enter the territories under their control. Mr Ghani took to twitter to welcome the ceasefire announcement.

"I welcome the ceasefire announcement by the Taliban. The Afghan government extends the offer of peace. As Commander in Chief I have instructed ANDSF to comply with the three-days truce and to defend only if attacked. Further details will be given in my speech tomorrow morning," Mr Ghani tweeted on Saturday night. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad also welcomed the three-day ceasefire. "I welcome the statements by the government of Afghanistan & the Taliban on a 3-day ceasefire over Eid. All parties should seize this opportunity for peace, for the benefit of all Afghans. NATO remains committed to Afghanistan’s long-term security," Mr Stoltenberg said in his tweet. Mr Khalilzad, in a series of tweets, said this opportunity should not be missed.

"This is a momentous opportunity that should not be missed. The US will do its part to help," he tweeted. "Other positive steps should immediately follow: the release of remaining prisoners as specified in the US-Taliban agreement by both sides, no returning to high levels of violence, and an agreement on a new date for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations," Mr Khalilzad said in another tweet. It is only the third occasion when the Taliban have declared a temporary truce since the conflict began. In February this year, The US and the Taliban signed an "agreement for bringing peace" to Afghanistan after more than 18 years of conflict. Under the agreement, US President Donald Trump announced 5,000 US troops would leave Afghanistan by May and he would meet leaders of the Taliban in the near future. (UNI)