Afghan Taliban say ceasefire will not be extended, fighting to resume

Clay Curtis
June 17, 2018

The extraordinary festivities were marred by a suicide attack in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Saturday that was later claimed by Daesh group´s franchise in Afghanistan. Provincial police spokesman Shahpur Ahmadzai told The Associated Press that the Taliban were unarmed and no one was allowed into the city with weapons.

Speaking from his palace in a solemn and serene tone, Ghani said his government was ready for "any kind of peace and any kind of talks", and that he would be willing to discuss all Taliban concerns, including "the future role of global troops" in the country.

The explosion occurred in the eastern province of Nangarhar around 5:15 p.m. local time, according to CNN.

The Taliban announced a three-day ceasefire over the Eid holiday, which began on Friday following the end of the Ramadan fasting period.

Ashraf Ghani has not specified the duration of the extension.

The Afghans exempted Islamic State fighters from the ceasefire, saying it would still carry out operations against the insurgent group.

Although the residents of Kabul welcomed the move they urged security forces not to let Taliban members carry their weapons in the city.

"We want the infidels to leave our country and the Afghan forces such as army, police and public protection forces make peace with us", Hamza, a Taliban member said.

The Taliban are fighting USA -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces, combined under the Resolute Support mission, and the US -backed government to restore sharia, or Islamic law, after they were ousted by USA -led forces in 2001. In a written statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, "The United States stands ready to work with the Afghan government, the Taliban, and all the people of Afghanistan to reach a peace agreement and political settlement that brings a permanent end to this war".

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Martin said she remained positive, though, and that she and her lawyer had organised a meeting with Chope to discuss the bill. And George Freeman, who used to lead Theresa May's policy unit, said the move was "an affront to parliamentary democracy".

The chairman of the High Peace Council, a government body charged with negotiating an end to the almost 17-year war, called on the Taliban to accept the extended ceasefire and join the peace process. "This opportunity can not be missed".

Rare scenes have been reported in Afghanistan of Taliban fighters and government security forces shaking hands and embracing during an unprecedented ceasefire to mark Eid.

Taliban members wearing their traditional headgear entered the city of Kabul through gates in the south and southeast, leaving their weapons behind at the entrance.

In another part of the city, Afghan interior minister Wais Ahmad Barmak greeted the Taliban and wished them a happy Eid.

Video and pictures on social media showed cheerful soldiers and Taliban terrorists hugging one another and exchanging Eid greetings in Logar province, south of Kabul, and Zabul in the south and central Maidan Wardak.

Repeated attacks in Afghanistan over the past several months have killed and wounded hundreds of innocent Afghans, and shown the world the fragile and worsening state of security in the conflict-stricken country.

Members of rights groups organized a brief meeting between Afghan forces and Taliban insurgents in Helmand's capital city, Lashkar Gah, where the Taliban have delivered a series of blows to government forces this year.

It was the first formal nationwide ceasefire since the 2001 U.S. invasion and the display of jubilation and unity has fuelled hopes among war-weary Afghans that peace is possible.

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