Afghanistan: Taliban declares 3-day holiday truce

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan on Saturday announced a landmark three-day cease-fire to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in the war-ravaged country, set to start this weekend.

In a message on the group's website, the Taliban's so-called cultural commission announced the surprise move amid escalating conflict and the shaky peace process. This is the only second such brief ceasefire in the otherwise deadly insurgency, now in its 19th year.

The statement directed Taliban militants to stay out of areas under government control, but said government forces could visit Taliban-controlled areas.

In a similar holiday truce two years ago, there were unprecedented scenes of fighters from opposite sides embracing each other and taking selfies.

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There was no immediate response from the government on the development. The Afghan government has long been pushing the insurgents to declare a cease-fire ahead of proposed intra-Afghan talks in line with a peace deal between the US and the Taliban.

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