Iran Welcomes Ceasefire between Afghan Gov’t, Taliban


In Jawzjan province, seven police personnel were killed and two others injured after Taliban militants attacked a security checkpoint on Sunday night.

The Afghan president's office welcomes Taliban's agreement to a ceasefire during Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the twin suicide attacks, adding that it seized military equipment.

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

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a unilateral cease-fire Thursday, a gambit meant to apply pressure to the Taliban as Afghan civilians have begun pleading more vocally for peace after decades of conflict. The truce will coincide with Eid, the religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. "The Afghan government will take all steps needed to make sure that there is no bloodshed in Afghanistan".

The move was greeted with optimism from NATO, with General Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO's supreme commander in Europe, giving an upbeat assessment this week of the struggle against the Taliban.

The ceasefire excludes attacks on foreign forces.

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Afghanistan has seen a spate of deadly attacks, including an attempt to storm the education department in the eastern city of Jalalabad in which at least 10 civilians have been wounded.

For the festival, Taliban fighters "are instructed to stop their offensive operations against domestic opposition", the militant group's statement said, referring to Afghan forces.

Jalalabad has seen a string of violent incidents over the last several months. It was not immediately clear how many of them were among those killed.

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

"Peace is the order of almighty Allah", said Maulavi Abdul Rahman Niazi, a former member and spokesman of the Rasul group's high peace council. "Insurgents have set fire to two military Humvees as well as the checkpoint", he said.

Ghani in February offered recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group in a proposed political process that he said could lead to talks to end more than 16 years of war.

One of the attackers was reportedly killed by a blast of the explosive device he had detonated while three other assailants were shot by the security forces.