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Afghanistan Taliban Plan 3-Day Ceasefire for Eid Holiday

Afghanistan Taliban Plan 3-Day Ceasefire for Eid Holiday

Monday, 10 May, 2021 - 07:45
Afghan men bury a victim of deadly bombings on Saturday near a school, at a cemetery west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

Afghanistan's Taliban Monday announced a three-day ceasefire for the Eid-al-Fitr holiday this week marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.


The ceasefire would begin on either Wednesday or Thursday. The Muslim calendar follows lunar cycles and the Eid holiday depends on the sighting of the new moon.


Just hours after the pending ceasefire was announced, a bus in southern Zabul province struck a roadside mine killing 11 people, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian. At least 24 more people on the bus were injured. Improvised explosive devices litter the countryside and have been used extensively by the Taliban.


Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said Taliban fighters have been ordered to stop all offensives, "to provide a peaceful and secure atmosphere to our compatriots . . . so that they may celebrate this joyous occasion with a greater peace of mind."


The ceasefire announcement comes amid heightened violence in the country and follows a brutal attack on a girls' school on Saturday that killed as many 60 people, most of them students between 11-15 years old. The death toll from the three explosions continues to climb.


The Taliban denied any responsibility and condemned the attack, which occurred in the neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi in the west of the capital.


Attacks in the area are most often claimed by the Afghan ISIS affiliate, but no group yet has claimed the attack on the school.


The ceasefire announcement also comes as the US and NATO are withdrawing the last of their military forces. The final 2,500-3,500 American soldiers and roughly 7,000 allied NATO forces will leave by Sept. 11 at the latest.


The Afghan government has not yet responded to the ceasefire announcement.


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