The Taliban have banned their fighters from attending public gatherings, going into cities and meeting with the Afghan public, as well as officials and security forces, during the three-day ceasefire, according to a statement by the militants.
The statement by Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the militant group, said that the move is to cause less harm to civilians after 65 people were killed in a suicide bombing in eastern Nangarhar province during such a gathering on Saturday.
“Officials should ban all Mujahideen [fighters] under their command from participating in such crowds and gatherings, and rigorously deal with cases of violation,” the Taliban said.
The incident took place as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced that the government’s eight-day ceasefire with Taliban militants will be extended.
Mr Ghani said the truce will now continue beyond the Eid holiday, with Afghan security forces halting all offensives against the Taliban.
He did not say how much longer the government’s unilateral ceasefire would last. Its original eight-day ceasefire is set to end Wednesday.
Mr Ghani also requested that the Taliban extend their ceasefire, during which the Afghan government will provide medical assistance to wounded Taliban fighters and allow militant fighters to visit their families.
The Taliban has only agreed to a three-day cessation of hostilities, which began late Thursday to coincide with Eid celebrations and is to end on Sunday.
It has yet to comment on the new offer by the Afghan president.
Mr Ghani made a comprehensive peace offer in February. However, the militants have only increased their attacks.
In his televised address on Saturday, Mr Ghani also said he is open to the presence of international forces in Afghanistan
“The Afghan government is ready to discuss the roles of neighbouring countries and the presence of international forces, their roles and the future destiny of them,” Mr Ghani said.
The U.S. State Department welcomed Ghani’s remarks.
“We support President Ghani’s offer to extend the ceasefire and begin peace talks,” it said in a statement.
“As President Ghani emphasised in his statement to the Afghan people, peace talks by necessity would include a discussion of the role of international actors and forces. The United States is prepared to support, facilitate, and participate in these discussions.”
The European Union also said it supports the extension and called on the Taliban to “reciprocate,” as the move makes way for peace negotiations in the war-torn country.
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