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Afghanistan Announces Ceasefire with Taliban for Eid Holiday

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Afghanistan announced on Thursday a week-long ceasefire with the Taliban terrorist group for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that caps off the holy month of Ramadan, though operations against other groups including Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL' group] will continue.

Ashraf Ghani

The ceasefire will last "from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr," Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted from an official account, indicating it could run from Jun 12 to Jun 19.

However, it was not immediately clear if the Taliban had agreed to the ceasefire. A spokesman for the armed group told AFP they were "checking with our officials" regarding the announcement.

The surprise move comes days after a gathering of Afghanistan's top clerics in the capital Kabul issued a fatwa against suicide bombings and attacks.

An hour after the fatwa was issued, a suicide bomb was detonated outside the gathering, killing seven people.

Ghani said his government supported the clerics' call.

"The government of Afghanistan not only supports the unanimous fatwa announcement by the scholars, but also backs the recommended ceasefire," he said in a statement released by his office.

"[At] the same time, the Afghan government directs all the security and defense forces of the country... to stop all the attacks on the Taliban, but the operation will continue against Daesh, al-Qaeda and other international terrorist networks."

In February Ghani unveiled a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban, including eventually recognizing them as a political party.

The insurgents did not officially respond, but announced the launch of their annual spring offensive in an apparent rejection of the plan, one of the most comprehensive ever offered by the Afghan government.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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