Taleban will not extend ceasefire with Afghan forces

KABUL • The Taleban said yesterday it would not extend its three-day ceasefire with Afghan security forces and fighting would resume, dashing hopes for the recent peace to continue.

The comments by Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid come after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced last Saturday that a government truce with the militants would be extended. He asked the group to reciprocate.

"The ceasefire ends tonight and our operations will begin, inshallah. We have no intention to extend the ceasefire," Mr Mujahid told AFP.

The first formal, nationwide ceasefire since the 2001 US invasion had been met with jubilation across the country as Afghans - Taleban, security forces and civilians - celebrated Eid, the holiday that caps the fasting month of Ramadan.

Taleban fighters and security forces embraced and took selfies with each other over the first two days of the Muslim holiday. Civilians also flocked to greet the militants, who had left their posts to celebrate the halt in hostilities.

The extraordinary festivities, however, were marred by a suicide attack in the eastern province of Nangarhar last Saturday that was later claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group's franchise in Afghanistan. ISIS was not included in the ceasefire.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2018, with the headline 'Taleban will not extend ceasefire with Afghan forces'. Print Edition | Subscribe