Afghan forces kill 10 Taliban after truce takes effect

Howard TerryJun 11, 2018

Both attacks came hours before the Taliban announced a ceasefire with Afghan security forces for the first three days of Eid, the holiday that caps Ramazan and which is due to begin at the end of next week.

The Taliban also said it may release prisoners including government troops, provided they agree to refrain from fighting insurgents in the future, the statement said.

It is the first time in almost 17 years that the militants have declared a cessation of violence, albeit a limited one, since the government it ran was toppled by the 2001 US-led invasion.

"All the mujahideen are directed to stop offensive operations against Afghan forces for the first three days of Eid-al-Fitr", the Taliban said in a WhatsApp message to journalists.

The separate Taliban statement ordering a halt on attacks of "internal enemies" over the Eid al-Fitr holiday said operations against "foreign invaders" should continue, with attacks against them "wherever and whenever they are seen".

But attacks appear set to continue over the remainder of Ramadan.

Afghan officials say Taliban militants have killed over 40 government security personnel in attacks across the country.

Even a brief cessation of hostilities would bring welcome relief to civilians in the war-torn country, where they are paying a disproportionate price in casualties as a result of the conflict.

Officials from the U.S. -NATO coalition hope the move will push Kabul into expediting the process of verifying the identities of ANDSF troops through biometric data.

Provincial governor's spokesman Nematullah Temori confirmed that 19 ALP soldiers lost their lives in the attack. He first spoke about the possibility of a cease-fire with the militant Islamic group in February as part of a potential agreement where the government would be willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party.

At least 50 Afghan soldiers and police were killed in clashes across the country - 17 soldiers died in the Zawal district of western Herat province, nine border police were killed in the Bala Murghab district of north-western Badghis province, and at least 20 Afghan police were killed in the Qala e Zal district of northern Kunduz province on Friday.

Laurel Miller, who served as a senior US official for Afghanistan and Pakistan under both Obama and Trump, said that while any action to reduce violence was positive, the differing terms and timelines for the two parties' cease-fires made the current circumstance a fragile one. The festival lasts up to three days. He added that eight Taliban attackers were killed and more than a dozen others were wounded during the gun battle.

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