Afghan Soldiers And Taliban Celebrate Eid In Unprecedented Ceasefire

Afghanistan Eid car bomb claimed by Islamic State kills 26

On Sunday, Taliban insurgents were travelling freely with their flags and meeting civilians despite curbs imposed on their movement after Islamic State militants targeted the gathering.

A member of the Afghan security forces secures the site of a auto bomb attack in Kabul on 17 March 2018.

A suicide attack in restive eastern Afghanistan on Sunday (Jun 17) killed at least 18 people in a crowd celebrating the Eid holiday, the second assault in as many days to mar an unprecedented ceasefire.

Taliban militants headed into cities across Afghanistan on Sunday as they celebrated their Eid ceasefire with feasts and selfies, raising questions about what happens when the ceasefire ends at midnight.

Almost 70 people were killed or wounded after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near the governor's compound in Jalalabad city city at around 3 pm local time. He had earlier said a rocket-propelled grenade had been used.

"They are unarmed as they handed over their weapons at the entrances", Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai told Reuters, adding that the weapons would be returned when the fighters leave the city. "The area where the blast happened is close to our front line. Our members suffered casualties".

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a unilateral eight-day ceasefire with the Taliban on Tuesday amid an increasingly bloody war.

The chairman of the High Peace Council, a government body charged with negotiating an end to the almost 17-year war, called on the Taliban to accept the extended cease-fire and join the peace process.

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

Hardened Taliban fighters and Afghan security forces hugged it out during a three-day ceasefire called to mark Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that ends the holy month of Ramadan.

It was not clear if Mr Ghani was aware of the bomb attack when he made his address.

The Taliban, wearing traditional headgear and many with sunglasses, entered Kabul through gates in the south and southeast.

Afghan forces manning checkpoints offered Eid greetings to the Taliban, embracing and posing for photos with the same people they are usually trying to kill - a scene that would have been unthinkable only a few days ago.

"Luckily there have been no attacks", he told Reuters.

People say they are exhausted of war.

"If their leaders come, sit and talk just like their soldiers we will have peace tomorrow", Said Hasibullah posted on Facebook under a photo purportedly showing a Taliban fighter and Afghan soldier having a cup of tea together. The Taliban cease-fire took effect at midnight on Thursday.

The Pakistan government statement also said an "action had finally been taken against an enemy of the people and state of Pakistan".

The first formal, nationwide ceasefire in the country since the 2001 U.S. invasion had been met with jubilation across the country as Afghans -Taliban, security forces and civilians - celebrated Eid, the holiday that caps the fasting month of Ramadan.



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