Afghan police killed in Taliban attack on base

Afghan police killed in Taliban attack on base

The Taliban in Afghanistan has for the first time announced a three-day ceasefire over the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of this week, following a ceasefire announced by the government.

The reciprocal truces appeared to be the most promising movement so far in more than a decade of disappointed peace efforts to end a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of Afghans and more than 450 British troops.

The Taliban also said it may release prisoners including government troops, provided they agree to refrain from fighting insurgents in the future, the statement said.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said this could, for example, allow the U.S.to partially shift the focus of aerial surveillance from the Taliban to Daesh fighters as well as al-Qaida extremists, who remain a threat 17 years after the USA invaded. A dozen other were wounded in the overnight Taliban attack, but the exact figures are not yet clear, Safiullah Amiri, another provincial member, said. "I hope the bold initiatives towards peace taken by President Ghani will be respected by all parties", Modi said at the summit, also attended by Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain.

It would last "from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr", President Ashraf Ghani tweeted from an official account, indicating the ceasefire could run from June 12-19.

The Taliban has been waging a bitter fight in Afghanistan with the ultimate goal of ruling the country and imposing its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

The Afghan government hopes that the Taliban will respond positively to the demands of the people and clergy in Afghanistan and focus on putting an end to the war in the country, Shah Hossein Mortazavi said.

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Ghani proposed a ceasefire and a release of prisoners among options including new elections involving the militants and a constitutional review in a pact with the Taliban to end a conflict that a year ago alone killed or wounded more than 10,000 civilians.

His offer - the first of its kind since he assumed power in late 2014 - came following recent calls from Islamic scholars in Kabul for an immediate cease-fire between government forces and the Taliban.

Some diplomats said it came as a bit of a surprise, showing that at one level the government wanted intensified air strikes, but on another it was offering an olive branch. Hours before accepting the truce, the militants stormed military bases in western and northern Afghanistan, killing almost 40 soldiers.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on its news agency Aamaq website.

Khogyani said that four of 16 wounded are children and three of them are in critical condition.

Five police officers were injured in the attack on the base in the Qalai Zal district of Kunduz province, the spokesman for Kunduz chief of police, Enhamuddin Rahmani, said.

He said there was a report of a single Taliban casualty but the group has not commented.

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