Afghan Taliban announces Eid ceasefire for first time

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It wound down its combat mission in 2014 but its Resolute Support mission comprises nearly 16,000 troops from around 40 countries.

In past years, Mujahid said, the Taliban have instructed their fighters to abstain from attacks; but they could not announce that publicly out of fear that the government and the USA military would take advantage of it and amplify attacks.

It's the first time the militants have made such an offer, which comes days after the government declared its own ceasefire.

The ceasefire, the first offer of its kind, will begin either on Friday or Saturday, as Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, falls on one of these days.

But it added that 'if the mujahideen are attacked we will strongly defend (ourselves)'.

They say foreign forces are excluded from the cease-fire and Taliban operations would continue against them.

The Taliban statement said worldwide forces in the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation coalition would still be the target of attacks.

In three provinces, more than 50 members of the Afghan security forces and pro-government militias were killed overnight, government officials said Saturday.

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Even a brief cessation of hostilities would bring welcome relief to civilians in the war-torn country, where they are paying a disproportionate price in casualties as a result of the conflict.

Ghani on Thursday, June 7, 2018 announced a weeklong cease-fire with the Taliban to coincide with the holiday. "How can the Taliban justify shedding Afghan blood?" he questioned, urging the Taliban to consider negotiations with the government.

But analysts were cautious, warning that the Taliban and its brutal arm the Haqqani Network could launch attacks on behalf of the Daesh group, which they are believed to have done previously. The only time the Afghan government came close to initiating substantive direct talks with the Taliban, in the summer of 2015, the process was derailed by news that the insurgent envoys they were meeting had, in fact, come in the name of a Taliban supreme leader who had died years before, the news of which had been kept secret.

The Trump administration has sent additional troops to try to change the course of America's longest war.

In recent years, a resurgent Taliban has taken control of significant swaths of the country and terrorized citizens and foreigners alike.

The Taliban attacked security outposts in the Zawul district of western Herat province on Friday night, killing 17 troops and wounding several, Jelani Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor, said.

Farhad said at least 13 others were wounded in the attack.

Temori said that seven others were wounded in Qala-e Zal district.

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