Afghan President Offers Taliban Conditional Three-Month Cease-Fire

Afghanistan Announces Ceasefire With Taliban To Mark Eid Holiday

Afghan President Offers Taliban Conditional Three-Month Cease-Fire

Mr. Ghani said government forces would observe a truce in fighting with the Taliban to coincide with the start on Monday of the three-day Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha and continue it through the commemoration of the Prophet Muhammad's birthday on November 19 if the insurgents reciprocated.

It came within hours of a proposed ceasefire starting, which was announced by President Ghani during celebrations of the 99th anniversary of Afghanistan's independence.

He said: "Pakistan calls upon all the parties to respect the holy tradition of sacrifice during Eid-ul-Adha and implement a ceasefire in hostilities - preferably for a more extended period of time".

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"The United States and our global partners support this initiative by the Afghan people and the Afghan government, and we call on the Taliban to participate".

The statement went on to reiterate the group's position that direct talks with the United States is the only way to bring the 17-year war with the nation to an end. The Taliban observed a ceasefire over the three-day Eid al-Fitr festival but rejected the government's request to extend it.

Ghani's announcement was also swiftly welcomed in neighbouring Pakistan, which has always been accused of fostering links with the Taliban's leadership and providing sanctuary to its fighters.

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According to the source the security force members might have surrendered to the Taliban. Some analysts said it might be perceived as an act of desperation by the government following mounting battlefield pressure from insurgents.

Ghani declared the latest ceasefire in a televised broadcast on Sunday on the condition that the Taliban reciprocated.

Afghan security forces, beset by killings, desertions and low morale, have taken staggering losses since US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat forces pulled out at the end of 2014.

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Last month, however, Taliban representatives met U.S. officials for talks in Qatar, though little is known about the details of the meeting.

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