Kunduz attack claims the lives of 24 ALP and Public Uprising forces

Kunduz attack claims the lives of 24 ALP and Public Uprising forces

The halt in hostilities at the end of this week comes two days after the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, announced his government's unilateral eight-day ceasefire.

The clerics were themselves targeted in a suicide attack claimed by IS, which killed 14 people at the entrance to their peace tent in Kabul.

Ghani also thanked the United States after Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. and global forces in Afghanistan, said they would respect the Afghan's government cease-fire, not including USA counterterror efforts against al Qaeda and ISIS in the region.

"Members of the Taliban should not participate in public gatherings during the Eid festivities because the enemy could target us", they said in a statement. We can be hopeful if the truce is extended for a longer time.

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

"The Taliban have won our hearts, if they strike a peace deal with the Afghan government, the Afghans will take them on their shoulders with love", Shah Jahan Siyal, a resident of Nangarhar provincial capital Jalalabad, wrote on Facebook.

The clerics also recommended a ceasefire with the Taliban and Ghani endorsed the recommendation.

In February Ghani unveiled a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban, including eventually recognizing them as a political party.

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The Afghan government says the ceasefire will last for a week and will exclude Daesh and other terror groups.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement to media.

But he did not touch the issue of presence or withdrawal of foreign troops, a key demand of the insurgents.

"You can't end 40 years of war in a few days, but this is definitely the best chance for a peace process since at least since the USA surge" of troops under President Barack Obama in 2010-2011, said Vikram Singh, a former Pentagon and State Department official who is now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington.

"Hope the pleasure of shedding no Afghan blood in Eid becomes so overwhelming that rest of year is also declared as Afghan Eid", he said on Twitter.

In the meantime, Taliban insurgents have continued to carry out attacks against Afghan forces.

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 previous year alone killed or wounded more than 10,000 civilians. Just hours before the Taliban's announcement, at least 17 soldiers were killed when their checkpoint came under attack by Taliban fighters in western Herat province, said Gelani Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor.

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