They say foreign forces are excluded from the cease-fire and Taliban operations would continue against them.
Kabul, Afghanistan | June 9
The Afghan Taliban announced a three-day cease-fire over the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a first for the group, following an earlier cease-fire announcement by the government.
A statement released Saturday by the Taliban said that they would defend themselves in case of any attack. They say foreign forces are excluded from the cease-fire and Taliban operations would continue against them.
The statement added that the leadership of the Taliban may also consider releasing prisoners of war, if they promise not to return to the battlefield.
Mohammad Haroon Chakhansuri, spokesman for the Afghan president, welcomed the ceasefire announcement during a news conference in Kabul.
“We hope that (the Taliban) will be committed to implementing their announcement of the cease-fire,” he said. “The Afghan government will take all steps needed to make sure that there is no bloodshed in Afghanistan.”
“The government of Afghanistan is hopeful that this process will become a long term process and will result in a sustainable peace,” Chakhansuri added.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced a weeklong cease-fire with the Taliban to coincide with the holiday.
A statement sent from the president’s office on Thursday said the government’s cease-fire will begin on 27 Ramadan, or June 12 on the Western calendar, and last through the Eid al-Fitr holiday, until around June 19, adding that the cease-fire does not include alQaida or the Islamic State group.
The palace statement referred to a gathering of Afghanistan’s top clerics last week in which they issued a decree against suicide attacks and called for peace talks. A suicide bomber struck just outside the gathering as it was dispersing, killing at least seven people and wounding 20 in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.
The Taliban had denounced the gathering, insisting that its jihad, or holy war, against foreign invaders was justified. It instead urged the clerics to side with it against the “occupation.”