Afghanistan declares Eid ceasefire with Taliban; operations against IS active
Afghanistan government announced today a week-long ceasefire with the Taliban for Eid, the holiday that caps off Ramadan. However, operations against other groups including Islamic State will continue. "The ceasefire will last from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr," President Ashraf Ghani tweeted from an official account, indicating it could run from June 12-19. Here's more.
Ceasefire following the fatwa issued by the Afghan Ulema
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan announces ceasefire from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr following the historic ruling [Fatwa] of the Afghan Ulema.— Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) June 7, 2018
Announcement comes days after fatwa against bombings was issued
The surprise move comes days after a gathering of Afghanistan's top clerics in the capital 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 clerics' gathering, killing seven people. President Ghani said his government supported the clerics' call and announced the ceasefire.
Afghan Government backs recommended ceasefire
"The Government of Afghanistan not only supports the unanimous fatwa announcement by the ulemas (scholars) but also backs the recommended ceasefire," the President said.
Ghani had earlier offered to recognize Taliban as 'political party'
In February, Ghani unveiled a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban, including eventually recognizing them as a political party. At the time, he also called for a ceasefire. The insurgents did not officially respond but announced the launch of their annual spring offensive in an apparent rejection of the plan, one of the most comprehensive ever offered by the Afghan Government.
Pentagon claims clandestine negotiations between Afghan, senior Taliban officials
Last month, the Pentagon claimed that senior Taliban officials have been secretly negotiating with Afghan officials on a possible ceasefire. "A lot of the diplomatic activity and dialogue is occurring off the stage, and at multiple levels," General John Nicholson of the US army said. He would not identify the figures involved in the negotiations, except that they included mid and senior-level Taliban officials.
Ceasefire would bring relief after the continuous wretched bombings
A ceasefire would bring welcome relief to civilians in the war-torn country, nearly 17 years after the Taliban regime was toppled. In recent years the resurgent militant group, along with the IS group, have geared up their attacks on Kabul in particular. Fearful residents have limited their movements and Eid celebrations in the capital are set to be muted.
Operations against other insurgent groups to continue
"(At) the same time, the Afghan Government directs all the security and defense forces of the country... to stop all the attacks on the Taliban, but the operation will continue against Daesh (Islamic State), Al-Qaeda, and other international terrorist networks," Ghani said.