The Afghan Taliban has announced a three-day Eid ceasefire starting on Sunday, a spokesman for the armed group said in a statement, in a move following months of bloody fighting with security forces.
The Taliban statement also instructed its fighters to refrain from entering government areas and also said that Kabul forces were not allowed to enter territories under their control.
“The leadership instructs all the mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate to take special measures for security for the countrymen, and conduct no offensive operation against the enemy anywhere,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.
Following the Taliban announcement, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the group’s offer of a three-day ceasefire and ordered his forces to also comply.
“I welcome the ceasefire announcement by the Taliban,” Ghani said on Twitter.
“As commander-in-chief, I have instructed ANDSF to comply with the three-day truce and to defend only if attacked,” he said, using the acronym for the Afghan National Defence Security Force.
In a similar holiday truce in 2018, there were unprecedented scenes of fighters from opposite sides embracing each other and taking selfies.
Saturday’s announcement comes just days after the Taliban’s leader Haibatullah Akhunzada urged Washington “not to waste” the opportunity offered by the deal the armed group signed with the United States that set the stage for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.
The US-Taliban deal is also aimed at paving the way for the fighters to hold direct peace talks with Kabul.
“The Islamic Emirate is committed to the agreement … and urges the other side to honour its own commitments and not allow this critical opportunity to go to waste,” Akhunzada said in a statement, using the Taliban’s name for Afghanistan.
Last month, the Taliban rejected a government call for a ceasefire across Afghanistan for the holy month of Ramadan, saying a truce was “not rational” as they ramped up attacks on Afghan forces.
At least 146 civilians were killed and 430 wounded by the Taliban during Ramadan, Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the country’s main intelligence and security office in Kabul, said on Saturday.