Afghanistan announced on Thursday a week-long ceasefire with the Taliban for the Eid holiday, though operations against other groups including the militant group Islamic State (IS), will continue.
The ceasefire will last “from the 27th of Ramazan until the fifth day of Eidul Fitr,” Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted from an official account, indicating it could run from June 12-19.
It was not immediately clear if the Taliban had agreed to the ceasefire. A spokesman for the militants told AFP they were “checking with our officials” regarding the announcement.
The surprise move comes days after a gathering of Afghanistan’s top clerics in the capital Kabul issued a fatwa against suicide bombings and attacks.
An hour after the fatwa was issued, a suicide bomb was detonated outside the gathering, killing seven people.
Ghani said his government supported the clerics’ call.
“The government of Afghanistan not only supports the unanimous fatwa announcement by the ulemas (scholars), but also backs the recommended ceasefire,” he said in a statement released by his office.
“(At) the same time, the Afghan government directs all the security and defence forces of the country… to stop all the attacks on the Taliban, but the operation will continue against Daesh (IS), Al-Qaeda and other international terrorist networks.”
In February, Ghani unveiled a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban, including eventually recognising them as a political party.
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.—AFP