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Afghan president and Taliban declare three-day Eid ceasefire from Sunday

France 24 logo France 24 23/05/2020 NEWS WIRES
In this Wednesday, May 20, 2020 photo, Abdullah Abdullah, right, President Ashraf Ghani's fellow leader under a recently signed power-sharing agreement, holds a meeting with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad aimed at resuscitating a U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed in February, at the presidential palace, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Sapidar Palace via AP) © ASSOCIATED PRESS In this Wednesday, May 20, 2020 photo, Abdullah Abdullah, right, President Ashraf Ghani's fellow leader under a recently signed power-sharing agreement, holds a meeting with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad aimed at resuscitating a U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed in February, at the presidential palace, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Sapidar Palace via AP)

The Taliban declared a three-day Eid ceasefire in Afghanistan starting Sunday, via a tweet on Saturday from the hardline Islamist group, and the country's president said the government would reciprocate. The move came as fighting between the two sides had intensified despite the coronavirus pandemic.

"Do not carry out any offensive operations against the enemy anywhere, if any action is taken against you by the enemy, defend yourself," Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, tweeted. He added that the ceasefire was declared solely for Eid festivities marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during his inauguration as president, in Kabul, Afghanistan March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail © Thomson Reuters Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during his inauguration as president, in Kabul, Afghanistan March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the Taliban's ceasefire announcement and extended the offer of peace. "As Commander-in-Chief I have instructed ANDSF (Afghan National Defense and Security Forces) to comply with the three-days truce and to defend only if attacked," he said in a tweet.

Last month, the Taliban rejected a government call for a ceasefire across Afghanistan for 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.

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