Bomber Kills 11, Mostly Taliban Celebrating Truce

Clay Curtis
June 17, 2018

The Taliban surprised everyone on Monday by announcing the three-day ceasefire over Eid, which began yesterday.

The incident comes in the wake of several deadly attacks that had hit the country soon after, Taliban, which has waged a bloody armed rebellion against Kabul since it was removed from power in 2001, also agreed to reciprocate to the government's decision to sign a three-day-truce to coincide with celebrations of Eid-ul-Fitr.

The blast, in the Rodat district of Nangarhar province, happened as officials and Taliban fighters celebrated a three-day ceasefire marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Members of the Afghan Taliban have been embracing Afghan security forces amid the ceasefire - something that would have seemed impossible just a few days ago, the BBC reported.

But some Taliban commanders also told AFP they disapproved of their fighters visiting government-controlled areas and celebrating with security forces.

'I could not believe my eyes.

"We have held the ceasefire well so far".

They added: "Our operations will continue against them, we will attack them wherever we see them".

"We want an Islamic country and government. This can not happen unless America leaves (Afghanistan)", he told AFP.

"We don't have mechanisms in place to mitigate the breach of ceasefire by the Taliban", Saleh told Reuters. He said he and 32 friends were in the capital on their motorcycles, many of them festooned with the Afghan flag.

Afghan Taliban say ceasefire will not be extended, fighting to resume
In another part of the city, Afghan interior minister Wais Ahmad Barmak greeted the Taliban and wished them a happy Eid. The explosion occurred in the eastern province of Nangarhar around 5:15 p.m. local time, according to CNN .

No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday's explosion but Saturday's was claimed by the local affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Bati Kot is on the highway connecting the Nangarhar provincial capital of Jalalabad with Torkham, one of the major border crossings into Pakistan, which has always been accused of supporting the Taliban and providing safe haven to its leaders, charges it denies.

The death toll from a suicide bombing against a gathering of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan has risen to 36, an official said on Sunday.

Governors in Helmand, Kandahar, and Zabul said both sides had adhered to the cease-fire and that there had been no reports of violence for 24 hours.

"Look, they are brothers".

Afghan media outlets such as television stations ToloNews and Ariana News showed Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak allegedly meeting Taliban militants in the eastern Kabul neighbourhood of Company.

The Taliban had "exploited" the opportunity to show their popularity among ordinary Afghans, a Western diplomat in Kabul told AFP.

"What we witnessed over the last two days was an overwhelmingly positive response by all Afghans to peace", Lt-Colonel Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for Resolute Support and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, told Reuters.

Over the weekend, ecstatic men and children crowded around the soldiers and Taliban fighters, some of whom had checked in their weapons at the entrances to cities, and urged them to turn their ceasefire into a permanent peace.

On Tuesday, Pakistan's powerful army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Kabul where he met with Ghani.

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