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Taliban Agrees to Unprecedented Ceasefire for Eid

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Local Editor

Taliban announced its first ceasefire in Afghanistan since the 2001 US invasion on Saturday, with a three-day halt in hostilities against the country's security forces that was greeted with relief by war-weary Afghans.

Taliban militants

But the group warned the suspension of fighting for the first three days of Eid, the holiday that caps off Ramadan, did not extend to "foreign occupiers", who would continue to be targeted by the militants.

The unexpected move came two days after the Afghan government's own surprise announcement of a week-long halt to operations against the Taliban.

It is the first time in nearly 17 years of conflict that the militants have declared a ceasefire, albeit a limited one.

The Taliban said "foreign occupiers are the exception" to the order sent to its fighters around the country.

"Our operations will continue against them, we will attack them wherever we see them," it said.

Even a brief cessation of hostilities would bring welcome relief to civilians in the war-torn country, nearly two decades after the Taliban regime was toppled.

President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday declared an apparently unilateral week-long ceasefire with the Taliban.

It would last "from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr", Ghani tweeted from an official account, indicating it could run from June 12-19.

The move came days after a gathering of Afghanistan's top clerics in Kabul called for a ceasefire and issued a fatwa against suicide bombings and attacks.

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

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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