Published: Mon, June 11, 2018

Afghan forces kill 10 Taliban as ceasefire is announced

Afghan forces kill 10 Taliban as ceasefire is announced

Security officials said they would suspend operations against the Taliban in line with the ceasefire, but would respond if attacked.

Earlier, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had declared a ceasefire with Taliban between June 12 to June 19 in light of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Quoting Arif Noori, a spokesman for the provincial governor, AP reported that women and children were among those killed in Monday's blast, which also wounded three people.

No one immediately claimed the attack, but the Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate regularly strike government targets in the capital and elsewhere.

Taliban insurgents announced only three days of a cease-fire, promising not to launch attacks against the Afghan government during that time.

"That the Taliban chose their "unilateral" cease-fire to coincide with the Afghan government's announcement is a cautious step toward public cooperation with the government on peace", said Ahmad Shuja, an Afghan analyst and editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Public Policy Review.

The holiday, and the cease-fire, is expected to begin this week.

The rest of the fatalities occurred when about 150 Taliban fighters stormed ANA posts in the newly created Zawal district and killed 17 soldiers, a government spokesman told VOA.

"The top leadership headed by Taliban supreme leader Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada made a decision to give a positive message to the Afghan people and agreed to announce ceasefire for Eidul Fitr", the Taliban military commander said. The attack apparently targeted the Education Department in Jalalabad, officials said.

At least 23 soldiers were killed and another nine wounded in the raid, Shah Wali Kot district police chief Padshah Khan told AFP.

While the Taliban announced it would halt attacks in response to Ghani's truce offer, it considers his government to be illegitimate and has said it would hold peace talks only with the United States rather than local authorities.

The NATO-led mission also said the cease-fire would not include counterterrorism efforts against Islamic State-Khorasan, al-Qaida and other regional and other global terrorist groups. It was not immediately clear how many of them were among those killed.

On June 4, at least 14 people, including seven religious scholars and four security personnel, were killed when a suicide bomber detonated at an Ulema gathering in Kabul.

He said the bomb was planted by the Taliban. The strategic attacks were focused on the two security checkpoints in Kunduz.

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