KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan President Ashraf Ghani introduced a ceasefire with Taliban insurgents from Monday to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha vacation, days after preventing within the central metropolis of Ghazni and a northern province.
Taliban sources mentioned their leaders had additionally provisionally agreed a four-day truce throughout the annual Islamic feast of sacrifice, although supreme chief Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada nonetheless needed to give his last approval.
The militant motion mentioned it could free lots of of prisoners, with out going into additional particulars.
Combating has been mounting within the Taliban’s insurgency towards the federal government in Kabul and NATO coalition forces, launched after the Islamist group was ousted from energy in a U.S.-led army intervention in 2001.
The truce announcement got here a day after clashes erupted within the northern province of Faryab, an inside ministry official mentioned. The Taliban had taken management of a part of Bulcheragh district and greater than 50 authorities forces have been lacking, he added.
This month at the very least 150 troopers and 95 civilians have been killed in a five-day battle for management of Ghazni. Afghan troopers backed by U.S. forces managed to push again the closely armed rebels final week.
Earlier on Sunday, the United Nations mentioned blasts, suicide assaults and clashes killed greater than 1,600 civilians within the first six months of the yr, the best quantity up to now decade.
“The conditional ceasefire will begin tomorrow and it’ll proceed so long as the Taliban preserves and respects it,” Ghani mentioned in a ceremony celebrating 99 years of independence from British rule.
“We name on the management of the Taliban to welcome the needs of Afghans for a long-lasting and actual peace,” he added.
A senior official in Ghani’s workplace mentioned the conditional ceasefire would run for 3 months, till the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday which Afghanistan have fun on Nov.21.
It will solely cowl the Taliban, not different teams together with Islamic State, officers mentioned.
For the reason that withdrawal of most overseas fight troops in 2014, the Taliban has made sluggish however regular positive aspects, now controlling or contesting greater than 40 p.c of Afghanistan.
In June this yr, Ghani introduced an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban for about two weeks. The Taliban noticed a ceasefire over the three-day Eid al-Fitr competition however rejected the federal government’s request to increase it.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the ceasefire and mentioned america was able to assist and facilitate direct peace talks between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban. “It’s time for peace,” he mentioned in an announcement.
Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary normal of NATO, tweeted that he inspired the Taliban “to display their concern for Afghans by respecting (the ceasefire)”.
Further reporting Qadir Sediqi, Jibran Ahmad, Enhancing by Kevin Liffey and Andrew Heavens