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Taliban and Afghan forces embrace in Eid ceasefire

Rtv online desk
|  16 Jun 2018, 00:00 | Update : 16 Jun 2018, 22:34
In scenes that would have seemed impossible a few days ago, members of the Afghan Taliban have been embracing Afghan security forces amid a three-day ceasefire called to mark Eid.

Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has extended the government's ceasefire and called on the Taliban to do the same.

The government has also released some Taliban militants from jail.

But 25 people died in a suicide attack on one gathering of Taliban and government officials in Nangarhar.

Taliban members and local residents were among the victims of the attack, province spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said, adding that 54 people were wounded.

The Islamic State group, which is active in the area, said it carried out the attack.

President Ghani wants the Eid ceasefire to lead to a longer peace. Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

In a televised address, Ghani said Taliban members could now receive government assistance like ordinary citizens.

He did not mention the attack in Nangarhar.

Earlier this month the Taliban denied that they were in secret talks with the Afghan government.

Ghani has also confirmed the death of the commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah, in a US drone strike in Afghanistan on Thursday.

For many Afghans these are extraordinary scenes. The two sides were fighting each other just a few days ago. The unprecedented development has raised hopes of permanent peace in the war ravaged country.

Neighboring Pakistan is considered key in starting the peace process as many Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to be living inside the country.

However Islamabad accuses Kabul of harboring Islamist insurgents who have carried out several violent attacks inside Pakistan in the past.

But the reported killing in Afghanistan of Mullah Fazlullah, one of Pakistan's most wanted militants, could address some of Islamabad's security concerns.

In Kabul itself, dozens of unarmed Taliban fighters entered to celebrate the unprecedented ceasefire.

One Taliban member was pictured holding an Afghan flag on a bridge in the city as residents took selfies with him.

Militants were also pictured with Interior Minister Wais Barmak.

Source: BBC

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