Kabul, August 19: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday announced a 'conditional' ceasefire with Taliban from August 20 to mark the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. However, the Taliban has not yet responded to the ceasefire. Ghani made the announcement during an Afghan Independence Day ceremony in Kabul. “The conditional ceasefire will start tomorrow, and it will continue as long as the Taliban preserves and respects it,” reported Reuters quoting the Afghan president as saying.
According to Reuters report, the “conditional” ceasefire would run for three months. The ceasefire announcement by the Afghan president is limited to the Taliban and excludes other militant groups such as Islamic State. Eid al-Adha will officially begin on Tuesday. It is the annual Islamic feast of sacrifice.
This month the Taliban insurgents launched a massive attack on Ghazni, 125 km south of Kabul, in a coordinated effort to take back the city. In the offensive, hundreds of Taliban insurgents stormed important government entities including the National Directorate for Security (Afghanistan's Intelligence Agency) and the provincial governor's office. Around 150 soldiers and close to 100 civilians were killed in a five-day siege. Last week, Afghan soldiers backed by the United States forces pushed back the heavily armed insurgents.
However, the Taliban has claimed to control over half of Afghanistan. As per the United Nations, more than 1,600 civilians were killed till June in blasts, suicide attacks and clashes between hardline Islamic militants and Afghan forces.