Ghani announces 3-month conditional ceasefire with Taliban

Lester Mason
August 20, 2018

The militant movement said it would free hundreds of prisoners, without going into further details.

Ghani's ceasefire announcement was limited to the Taliban and excluded other militant groups such as Islamic State.

"The conditional ceasefire will start tomorrow and it will continue as long as the Taliban preserves and respects it", he said in an Afghan Independence Day ceremony in Kabul.

Fighting has been mounting in the Taliban's insurgency against the government in Kabul and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation coalition forces, launched after the Islamist group was ousted from power in a US -led military intervention in 2001.

The Taliban's resurgence in recent years has seen entire districts of Afghanistan fall under its control.

In a statement issued by US Secretary of State Michael Pompei he said: "This plan responds to the clear and continued call of the Afghan people for peace".

By Sunday, the Taliban was expected to approve of the ceasefire, but leaders of the group said it might not be announced publicly.

The battle for Ghazni killed at least 100 members of the Afghan security forces and 35 civilians, according to Afghan officials.

Since the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops in 2014, the Taliban has made slow but steady gains, now controlling or contesting more than 40 percent of Afghanistan.

It came after a brief, unprecedented ceasefire earlier in June. "It is time for peace".

"It is our hope, and that of the global community, that the Afghan people may celebrate Eid al-Adha this year in peace, free from fear", he added, referring to the Islamic holiday that starts next week.

The June ceasefire - the first such truce in the country since the 2001 U.S. invasion - spurred hopes that a new path was opening for possible peace talks in the country to the end the almost 17-year-old war.

Ghani's announcement was also swiftly welcomed in neighbouring Pakistan, which has always been accused of fostering links with the Taliban's leadership and providing sanctuary to its fighters.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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