Afghan forces kill 10 Taliban as ceasefire is announced

By REUTERS
June 8, 2018 12:32
1 minute read.
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KABUL - Afghan security forces killed 10 Taliban militants as a ceasefire announced by the president took effect, an official said on Friday, and security forces said they would respond if attacked.

The 10 included five Pakistanis killed in the clash in the eastern province of Nangarhar, the official said, adding, "We finished the operation and will now follow the ceasefire plan."Four people were killed and five wounded by unidentified gunmen in a separate attack on a lawmaker's Nangarhar home on Friday. The lawmaker was not at home at the time.

The ceasefire was welcomed by the United Nations, the United States and NATO, but some independent analysts expressed skepticism, with one diplomat calling it a "one-sided love story" as the Taliban, who have yet to respond, are deemed unlikely to reciprocate.

Some diplomats said it came as a bit of a surprise, showing that at one level the government wanted intensified air strikes, but on another it was offering an olive branch.

Security officials said they would suspend operations against the Taliban in line with the ceasefire, but would respond firmly if attacked.

President Ashraf Ghani announced for the first time an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban coinciding with Eid, the end of the Muslim fasting month, but excluding other militant groups, such as Islamic State.

"It is not a laying-down of arms," a senior official told Reuters.

The ceasefire followed a meeting of Islamic clerics this week that declared a fatwa, or ruling, against suicide bombings, one of which, claimed by Islamic State, killed 14 people at the entrance to the clerics' peace tent in Kabul.


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