The Taliban has announced a three-day ceasefire in Afghanistan during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha starting on Friday.
This comes after the government said it will soon complete the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners, referring to the number of inmates it originally pledged to free under the US-Taliban deal in February.
“To demonstrate the government’s commitment to peace, the Islamic Republic will soon complete the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners,” Ghani told officials, referring to the number of inmates the government originally pledged to free under the US-Taliban deal in February.
“With this action, we look forward to the start of direct negotiations with the Taliban in a week’s time,” Ghani added.
In a statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid ordered the group’s fighters “to refrain from carrying out any operation against the enemy during the three days and nights of Eid al-Adha so … our countrymen would spend the Eid with confidence and joy”.
But any attack “by the enemy” would be met with force, he added.
The truce is only the third official respite in Afghanistan’s conflict since the war started in 2001, with other ceasefires in June 2018 and May this year to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Previous ceasefires of this kind were short-lived, with the fighters returning to the battlefields straight afterwards to resume near-daily attacks.