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Afghan president announces 3-month cease-fire with Taliban

By Daniel Uria
Afghan president announces 3-month cease-fire with Taliban
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a three-month ceasefire with the Taliban ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. Photo by Jawad Jalali/EPA

Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani declared a conditional cease-fire with the Taliban on Sunday in advance of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

Ghani announced the cease-fire would last at least three months to accommodate for the holiday, provided the Taliban also upholds the deal.

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He also encouraged the Taliban to work with the government toward long-lasting peace, adding the cease-fire could be extended for as long as the Taliban is willing to cooperate.

"We call on the leadership of the Taliban to welcome the wishes of Afghans for a long lasting and real peace, and we urge them to get ready for peace-talks based on Islamic values and principles," he said. "The Afghan government has removed all obstacles for a long-lasting peace through these unprecedented steps."

The two sides reached their first cease-fire deal since the war began in 2001 in June, ahead of the three-day Muslim festival Eid al-Fitr.

Ghani ended the cease-fire after 18 days, while making an appeal to the Taliban to join a process toward peace.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised the decision and called on the Taliban to observe the terms of the cease-fire.

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"I welcome President Ghani's announcement of a second cease-fire with the Taliban in Afghanistan. I encourage the Taliban to demonstrate their concern for Afghans by respecting it," Stoltenberg said.

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