Friday, 17 August, 2018

Shehbaz welcomes Eid ceasefire between Taliban, Afghan govt

27 People Killed, Up to 50 Wounded in 4 Attacks in Afghanistan Amid Ceasefire Afghan forces kill 10 Taliban as ceasefire is announced
Patty Aguilar | 11 June, 2018, 17:01

Kunduz provincial governor spokesman Nehmatullah Taimuri said five members of the local police force were also wounded in Saturday's attack on a police base in Qal-e-Zal district.

On Friday, senior USA officials said they will intensify combat against the Islamic State affiliate in the country during the Kabul government's temporary halt to attacks on the Taliban.

The Taliban announced the upcoming cease-fire on Saturday, saying they would continue to defend themselves if attacked and would continue targeting foreign forces.

The announcement came two days after the Afghan government's own unexpected decision to halt hostilities against the militants for a week.

A Western analyst in Kabul told AFP the ceasefires were a "confidence-building measure" which, if successful, could help pave the way to peace talks.

"We will adhere to the wishes of Afghanistan for the country to enjoy a peaceful end to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and support the search for an end to the conflict", Nicholson said.

It was not clear exactly when the ceasefire would begin, as Eid starts when the moon is first sighted, but Afghan calendars mark Friday June 15 as the end of Ramadan.

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.

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Deputy Assistant to US President Donald Trump and Senior Director for Central Asia at the National Security Council, Lisa Curtis, said US can not talk on behalf of Kabul but is willing to be a part of talks.

U.S. officials said Thursday that the Taliban had expressed interest in the pause in hostilities through Pakistani back channels and other mechanisms. Noori said that elsewhere in Ghazni, at least three local police and 10 Taliban insurgents were killed in clashes.

Conversations with diplomats and senior officials in Kabul suggest that the unilateral cease-fire announced by the government had not been coordinated with the Taliban or the outcome of a broader, cohesive peace effort.

Mayaudon said he was however sorry that the foreign troops were not included in the Taliban's ceasefire move.

"We don't know what will happen in the next few days or afterwards", he added.

The rest of the fatalities occurred when about 150 Taliban fighters stormed ANA posts in the newly created Zawal district and killed 17 soldiers, a government spokesman told VOA.

There also are concerns that the Taliban's brutal arm the Haqqani Network, suspected of being behind numerous recent attacks in Kabul claimed by IS, could launch more assaults on behalf of the rival group.

There was no report of other casualties.

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