Afghan Taliban declare three-day ceasefire for Eid al-Fitr festivities

Afghan police
Afghan policemen stand guard at a check point during Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim festival marking the end the holy fasting month of Ramadan, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Taliban declared a three-day Eid ceasefire starting on Sunday, a spokesman for the hard-line Islamist group wrote in a tweet on Saturday, a move that comes as fighting has intensified between the warring sides 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,” tweeted spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, adding that the ceasefire was declared solely for Eid festivities.

Afghanistan’s government has not yet indicated whether it will observe the ceasefire.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed the announcement in a statement and said he expects the Afghan government and the Taliban leadership “not to escalate violence after Eid.”

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.

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