Afghan Taliban raise hopes with surprise Eid ceasefire

Source: Reuters

KABUL (Reuters) – The Afghan Taliban on Saturday announced a surprise three-day ceasefire over the Muslim Eid holiday in the middle of June, their first offer of its kind, days after the government declared an unconditional ceasefire of its own.

An Afghan security force member stands guard in front of the Marshal Fahim military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan

An Afghan security force member stands guard in front of the Marshal Fahim military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

The militants said foreign forces would be excluded from the ceasefire and that operations against them would continue. They also said they would defend themselves against any attack.

“Members of the Taliban should not participate in public gatherings during the Eid festivities because the enemy could target us,” they said in a statement.

The presidential palace welcomed the announcement and said it hoped it can lead to lasting peace. Omar Zakhilwal, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to neighboring Pakistan, described the announcement as an “important step towards prospects for peace”.

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