Afghan forces seize huge bomb-making cache at Pakistan border

Afghan forces seize huge bomb-making cache at Pakistan border

The attack came hours before the Taliban announced an unprecedented ceasefire with Afghan security forces for the first three days of Eid, the holiday that caps Ramadan.

The NATO-led mission also said the cease-fire would not include counterterrorism efforts against Islamic State-Khorasan, al-Qaida and other regional and other worldwide terrorist groups.

The Taliban announced the upcoming cease-fire on Saturday, saying they would continue to defend themselves if attacked and would continue targeting foreign forces.

Militants' attack on a security checkpoint in Arghandab district of Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province claimed the lives of 13 policemen on Sunday, an official said on the condition of anonymity.

Afghan security forces say the impact has been significant, but the Taliban roam huge swaths of the country and, with foreign troop levels at about 15,600 compared with 140,000 in 2014, there appears little hope of outright military victory.

Arif Noori, a spokesman for the governor of the Ghazni province, said women and children were among those killed in the blast, which also wounded three people.

"If different factions don't accept the ceasefire, then attacks will continue".

President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday declared an apparently unilateral week-long ceasefire with the Taleban.

At least 23 soldiers were killed and another nine wounded in the raid, Shah Wali Kot district police chief Padshah Khan told AFP.

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Although the Taliban's cease-fire was not in direct response to Ghani's offer, it remains a rare positive sign for the troubled peace process.

The Helmand Peace March's strength caught both the government and the Taliban off-guard.

The government truce, which excludes the Islamic State (IS) extremist group and Al-Qaeda, will last from June 12 until around June 20.

The group warned that if they come under attack, they would retaliate, a Taliban military commander told The News.

Mohammad Haroon Chakhansuri, spokesman for the Afghan president, welcomed the cease-fire announcement during a news conference in Kabul.

The first-ever cease-fire by Taliban can be considered "exceptional", experts argue.

President Donald Trump's administration has increased the number of USA troops in Afghanistan in an effort to give local forces, which continue to struggle despite more than a decade and a half of outside support, a battlefield advantage.

Many Afghans believe that the government's cease-fire pledge came at the urging of the United States, which is looking for a way out of the war after sending thousands more troops past year to bolster Afghan forces.

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