Afghan Taliban call for ceasefire during Eid

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The Afghan branch of the Taliban terrorist group on Saturday announced a three-day ceasefire over the Eid holiday.

Afghan commandos backed by USA special forces and air support are tackling IS and al Qaeda fighters who hold pockets of territory in the northern and eastern provinces of Kunar, Nangarhar and Jowzjan.

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

The ceasefire, the first offer of its kind, will begin either on Friday or Saturday, as Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, falls on one of these days. The militants also say they will defend themselves, if attacked.

The militants said foreign forces would be excluded from the ceasefire and that operations against them would continue.

The 10 included five Pakistanis killed in the clash in the eastern province of Nangarhar, the official said, adding, "We finished the operation and will now follow the ceasefire plan".

Despite the increasing intensity of conflict in Kabul and around the country, Afghans remain hopeful that the ceasefire will bring much needed relief in an otherwise intensifying war. "Let us hope peace prevails", he said.

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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.

But analysts were cautious, warning that the Taliban and its brutal arm the Haqqani Network could launch attacks on behalf of the Daesh group, which they are believed to have done previously. 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.

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In the meantime, Taliban insurgents have continued to carry out attacks.

Provincial authorities in Kunduz said the Taliban ambushed police posts in the Qala-e-Zal district late Friday, killing 24 personnel stationed there.

Laurel Miller, who served as a senior USA 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.

Fourteen people including a district governor were killed in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan's southeastern Ghazni province on April 12. He added that eight Taliban attackers were killed and more than a dozen others were wounded during the gun battle.