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The Afghan President ends the unilateral ceasefire extension in the face of rising Taliban attacks




Afghanistan's Ashraf Ghani on Saturday at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. (Noorullah Shirzada / AFP / Getty Images)

– President Ashraf Ghani said Saturday that he ended a unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban after dozens of Afghan troops were killed in riots throughout the country last week ,

"The ceasefire is over," he told reporters in the presidential palace, saying he ordered Afghan defense and security forces to resume operations for the first time since announcing an unprecedented unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban

But the president said the door to the talks would remain open, and he called on the Taliban to engage in a peace process. So far, the militant group has refused to speak with the Kabul government, discredit it as a "puppet" regime and demand direct talks with the United States.

Although the insurgent leaders rejected Ghani's invitation to extend the ceasefire after the end of June 17, the president said that the three-day mutual ceasefire had been "98 percent successful" and that the government was ready to extend it at any time if the "Taliban are ready."

The brief truce that coincided with the three-day Eid Holidays marking the end of Ramadan's fasting month were closely watched by both sides in the 17-year civil war and marked by a burst of emotional celebrations among civilians, Afghan forces and Taliban. fighters.

The unexpected success of the ceasefire, during which thousands of Taliban fighters flooded cities and towns and mingled peacefully with others, has raised high hopes for the Ghani government, both among Afghans and foreign officials, to which the Taliban are ready could be some forms of conversation after months of refusal.

The ceasefire also strengthened a burgeoning peace movement among Afghans holding marches, rallies, and vigils calling for an end to violence. During the truce, more than 100 peace marchers marched several hundred miles from the southern province of Helmand to Kabul.

Ghani immediately offered to extend the initial ceasefire agreement, but the Taliban refused and has not said anything publicly about the issue since then – instead, it has actively ramped up attacks in numerous provinces. According to Afghan media reports, insurgents intensified attacks on police and military posts and left nearly 100 soldiers and police officers dead.

The government's ceasefire did not extend to the Islamic State, a Sunni Islamic militia stationed abroad, and other foreign terrorist groups operate in Afghanistan. During the ceasefire, the Islamic State stated that it had carried out two separate deadly attacks on Taliban, civilian, and Afghan forces gatherings in the eastern province of Nangahar.

A Defense Ministry spokesman said on Saturday that the ceasefire extension was over at midnight and that military operations would be launched in 10 provinces.

"We will continue our offensive against the elements that constitute our threat to people," he said.


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