PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban on Monday declared a three-day ceasefire across Afghanistan to on the occasion of Eidul Fitr.
The Taliban said in a statement that the fighters of the Islamic Emirate are instructed to halt all offensive operations against the enemy countrywide from the first till the third day of Eid.
However, the Taliban warned that if “the enemy” conducts any assault or attack during these days, the fighters will stand ready to robustly protect and defend themselves and their territory.
The Afghan government also usually reciprocates with a truce. Fraidon Khawzon, spokesman for chief negotiator Abdullah Abdullah – said early Monday: “We welcome the announcement … the Islamic republic is also ready and will announce soon.”
Pakistan welcomes announcement
Pakistan welcomed the three-day ceasefire announced by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
“We fully support all efforts that lead to reduction in violence and contribute to achieving durable stability and lasting peace in Afghanistan,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
Pakistan earlier strongly condemned the terrorist incidents in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul and two provinces Zabul and Parwan that led to killing of several civilians.
Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Dr Abdullah Abdullah called on the Taliban movement to restart talks, agree to a permanent ceasefire and seek a comprehensive settlement.
Former finance minister of Afghanistan and ambassador to Pakistan Dr Omar Zakhilwal also welcomed the ceasefire announcement by Taliban and called upon the government to reciprocate the step.
Violence continues in Afghanistan
The Taliban ceasefire happened two days after more than 50 people – mostly young girls – were killed in bomb blasts outside a school in Kabul.
Meanwhile on Monday, at least 11 people were killed in a bus explosion in Zabul province just hours before the Taliban ceasefire announcement.
Taliban denied involvement in the terror incidents and said the nation needed to “safeguard and look after educational centres and institutions”.
The Taliban refute carrying out any attacks in Kabul since February last year when its negotiators signed a deal with the US that paved the way for peace talks and withdrawal of the remaining US troops. The Taliban are continuing clashes with the Afghan security forces even as the US military reduces its presence.