Afghanistan announces unprecedented week-long ceasefire with the Taliban

ImageAn Afghan Police graduation ceremony in Kandahar

ImageAn Afghan Police graduation ceremony in Kandahar

The top USA military commander in Afghanistan said that foreign forces will also honor the cease-fire.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced a week-long ceasefire with the Taliban to coincide with the holiday marking the end of Ramadan. The global military presence in the country has also indicated that it will honour the pause in fighting.

Ghani has urged ceasefires with the Taliban before, but this was the first unconditional offer since he was elected in 2014.

Whether it remains a unilateral action or not, US forces will remain prepared to respond to any Taliban attacks, Nicholson said.

Trump a year ago said 16,000 US troops would remain in Afghanistan indefinitely to deny terrorists a haven and support Ghani's attempts to negotiate peace with the Taliban, which is estimated to control and contest almost half of the country.

She said paying attention to Pakistan's worries in the Afghan peace process is crucial.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the United States could now redirect significant military capabilities towards Islamic State and other militant groups.

The statement said the ceasefire, which the worldwide military indicated it would honor, follows the Afghan government's call for unconditional peace talks with the Taliban at the Kabul Process II conference in the Afghan capital in February.

The announcement also comes on the back of calls by more than 2,000 religious scholars who had gathered this week in the capital, Kabul, to denounce the ongoing conflict and urge all warring sides to embrace peace added the United Nations mission.

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Last month, the Pentagon said that senior Taliban officials have been secretly negotiating with Afghan officials on a possible ceasefire.

U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said they would honour the ceasefire.

Ghani in February offered recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group in a proposed political process that he said could lead to talks to end more than 16 years of war. The Taliban has not yet reacted to the announcement.

The United States and Russian Federation also praised the decision. In some cases, American officials said, the equipment was left on the battlefield by United States or Afghan troops, including those who were killed in action.

He expressed no concern that a unilateral cease-fire would give the Taliban breathing room to regroup and rearm.

In this photograph taken on August 10, 2017, an Afghan commando instructor explains how to fire during live firing exercises at Camp Morehead on the outskirts of Kabul.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has led worldwide security efforts in Afghanistan since 2003.

"(Operations against Daesh) will continue, in fact, will be even intensified, during this period of ceasefire, as we focus on ISIS", General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. and worldwide forces in Afghanistan, told reporters in Brussels. "North Atlantic Treaty Organisation fully supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process", he said.

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