Taliban Roaming Afghan Cities Freely During Eid Festivities

Lester Mason
June 20, 2018

"The Secretary-General urges the Taliban to heed the call for peace from the Afghan people and also extend the ceasefire", according to a statement issued by a United Nations spokesperson.

An Afghan official says a suicide bombing in the eastern city of Jalalabad has killed at least 19 people. "The cease-fire was announced by the Taliban for just the three days of the Eid holidays, which have come to an end this Sunday evening", Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement.

Following an initial truce announced by both sides that was to run through the Eid-ul-Fitr festival period, which began this past Friday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday announced that the Government would extend indefinitely its ceasefire, which had been due to end on Tuesday.

Najibullah Kamawal, director of the provincial health department, said another 60 people were wounded in the attack, which struck a crowd of people as they left the governor's compound.

A vehicle bomb killed 36 people at a gathering of Taliban and Afghan armed forces in the eastern city of Nangarhar on Saturday.

The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack, which hit a gathering of Taliban and Afghan security officials who were celebrating Eid together.

"We are feeling that these days are golden days for us, it is so peaceful", said Majid. Their weapons would be returned when they leave, he said.

"This is the first break in 23 years and we ask for your support to utilize the window for moving forward with intra-Afghan peace talks", he said.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan also said they would respect the ceasefire with the Taliban.

President Ashraf Ghani appealed to the militants to follow the government's lead and enter peace talks, reported BBC.

Emphasising on the significance of peace, the Afghan President Peace said, "Peace is an urgent need and as it turned out that in the last 24 hours there was a consensus between the Afghan government and the Taliban on peace, it proved that we are all for peace".

The Taliban are fighting US -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces, combined under the Resolute Support mission, and the USA -backed government to restore sharia, or Islamic law, after their ouster by USA -led forces in 2001.

"The United States is prepared to support, facilitate, and participate in these discussions", Pompeo said in a statement.

UNAMA urged the Taliban to respond positively to the desire of the Afghan people to end the conflict.

Ghani first spoke about the possibility of a ceasefire with the militant Islamist group in February when he announced the Afghan government was willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party as part of a potential agreement.

The Taliban has been waging a bitter fight in Afghanistan, with the ultimate goal of ruling the country and imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

The Taliban have steadily expanded their presence in recent years, seizing a number of districts across the country and carrying out near-daily attacks on Afghan security forces.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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