HOLD Temporary ceasefire reached with Taliban: Afghan President

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Kabul, June 7 (IANS) The Afghanistan President on Thursday announced a ceasefire with the Taliban, after about 2,000 Afghan religious leaders urged the group to put an end to the illegal war and accept the government’s offer of peace.

“Afghan national defence and security forces will only stop offensive manoeuvres against Afghan armed Taliban and will continue to target Daesh (IS) and other foreign backed organisations and their affiliates,” Ashraf Ghani tweeted following a televised speech.

The President pointed out that the ceasefire will begin on June 12 and end on the fourth day after Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, to be held on June 15 or 16 depending on the position of the moon.

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“This ceasefire is an opportunity for Taliban to introspect that their violent campaign is not winning them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause,” said Ghani.

He presented the unilateral truce as epitomizing the desire of Afghan citizens to find a peaceful resolution to the armed conflict in the country.

Ghani’s announcement, which comes after an ambitious offer of peace in February to the Taliban that included their political recognition and the release of prisoners, comes after a fatwa or religious edict in which the Taliban were urged to put an end to the conflict, Efe news agency reported.

In the fatwa, described as historic by Ghani on Thursday, some 2,000 religious leaders claimed that the war in Afghanistan is illegal and has no religious justification.

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The conflict in Afghanistan remains in a stagnant situation following the end of NATO’s military mission in the country in early 2015 which initially helped the Taliban make military advances territorially.

The government controls about 56 per cent of the territory while the Taliban has around 11 per cent, according to data from the US.

–IANS

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