Kabul, June 9: In a first of its kind initiative since 2001, the Afghan Taliban has called for Eid ceasefire, which will last till June 20. The announcement came following an unconditional offer by the Ashraf Ghani-led government in the State.
In a statement issued by the Taliban on Friday, it said the US troopers would be excluded from the unilateral ceasefire. This signals the intent of the Taliban militants to attack the 15,000-odd US troops still present on the Afghan soil. However, the local police and security officials, along with the civilian populace will be exempted.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban militants, citing the holy month of Ramzan. The gesture was reciprocated by the insurgent outfit a day later.
The ceasefire also comes in the backdrop of a fidayeen attack on Islamic clerics who had camped in Kabul earlier in the week. 14 clerics were killed in the suicide attack carried out by the militant outfit.
The assault was perpetrated to avenge the issuance of a fatwa, which declared suicide bombings as un-Islamic.
President Ashraf Ghani, since assuming power in 2014, has been aiming to strike a conciliatory note with the Taliban. The latter, however, has refrained to come to negotiating table, particularly after the death of its supreme leader Mullah Omar in 2015. The backchannel negotiations further fell apart after the US under President Donald Trump adopted a more hawkish approach by increasing the number of aerial strikes against the militants.