US, UN welcome Afghans ceasefire extension

Adjust Comment Print

Nangarhar spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said the explosion happened in Rodat district at an Eid gathering between Taliban and Afghan security forces who were celebrating the ceasefire.

ISLAMABAD (AP) - Pakistani caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk has described the killing of Pakistani Taliban chief Mullah Fazlullah in a US drone strike in Afghanistan as a "significant development in the fight against terrorism".

"UNAMA welcomes the announcement made today by President Ghani to extend the ceasefire with the Taliban beyond Eid-ul-Fitr", UNAMA's statement said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced on Saturday that his government's ceasefire with the Taliban will be extended another day, even as a suicide bombing killed and injured dozens.

A vehicle bomb killed at least 26 people at a gathering of Taliban and Afghan armed forces in the eastern city of Nangarhar on Saturday.

In scenes that would have seemed impossible just a few days ago, members of the Afghan Taliban have been embracing Afghan security forces amid a three-day ceasefire called to mark the Muslim holiday Eid.

On Saturday, the day two of Eid, Afghan security forces allowed some unarmed Taliban members to enter the capital city and meet people.

Some Taliban commanders also told AFP they disapproved of their fighters visiting government-controlled areas and celebrating with security forces.

Ghani also said that in the spirit of Eid and the ceasefire, the attorney general's office had released 46 Taliban prisoners.

It's not surprising that ISIS claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack that killed Taliban members.

More news: Brazil held to 1-1 draw by Switzerland
More news: The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen arrive in Cheshire
More news: Gary Lineker's F-word reaction to Harry Kane's England victor

"We are feeling that these days are golden days for us, it is so peaceful", said Majid.

He said a bomber on foot blew himself up among a crowd of Taliban fighters, local elders and civilians leaving the governor's compound after attending a special event for Eid.

Civilians also flocked to greet the militants, who had left their posts or areas under their control to celebrate the halt in hostilities, which had fuelled hopes among war-weary Afghans that peace was possible.

In his televised speech to the nation, President Ghani said the decision has been taken in consideration with the available consensus on government level as well as the Taliban ranks and on global community level.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed Ghani's speech, saying peace negotiations would require a discussion of what role "international actors and forces" play in Afghanistan.

Last week, the Taliban announced the start of their annual spring offensive, dismissing an offer of peace talks by President Ashraf Ghani.

There was no immediate word from the Taliban on whether they would observe the extension.

Afghanistan has suffered a recent uptick in violence despite reports in March that suggested some factions of the Taliban had expressed interest in pursuing peace talks with the Afghan government.

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

"U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike, June 13, in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization", U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell said in a statement.

Comments