Afghans celebrate Eid amid ceasefire

Afghans pray on Eid al-Adha in Kabul, Afghanistan
People attend the Eid al-Adha prayers in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan. (Xinhua/Rahmat Alizadah) (djj)

Afghans celebrated Eid al-Adha amid a three-day ceasefire called by the Taliban.

On Tuesday, the Taliban announced the three-day ceasefire ahead of the intra-Afghan negotiations that are expected in the coming weeks, reports TOLO News.

The group called on its fighters to avoid attacking Afghan forces and to not enter government-controlled areas.

This is the third ceasefire in the country since June 2019.

Afghans in various regions of the country have welcomed the ceasefire.

They called on the warring sides in Afghanistan to agree to a long-term ceasefire.

“We call on all sides to swiftly start the intra-Afghan talks,” TOLO News quoted a civilian as saying.

“The people are very happy, they spent time in a peace, there were no clashes,” another said.

“We hope that the ceasefire marks the start of permanent ceasefire in the country,” a Kabul resident was quoted as saying.

KABUL, April 29, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani inspects an honor guard during the first day of the Loya Jirga in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 29, 2019. Ghani stressed achieving viable peace in his militancy-battered country through dialogue in the much-awaited consultative Loya Jirga or traditional grand assembly of elders and chieftains inaugurated here on Monday. (Xinhua/Pool/Rahmat Gul/IANS) by .
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani inspects an honor guard. (Xinhua/Pool/Rahmat Gul/IANS)

On Friday, President Ashraf Ghani ordered the release of 500 Taliban prisoners in response to the militant group’s ceasefire announcement.

Ghani said the 500 prisoners were not part of the list given to the Afghan government by the Taliban and that these inmates will be released within the next four days, reports TOLO News.

According to Ghani, the Afghan government has so far released 4,600 Taliban prisoners.

Ghani’s annoucement came as the Taliban also completed the release of 1,000 prisoners as per the peace agreement it signed with the US in Doha in February.

A spokesman of the group, Suhail Shaheen, said on Twitter that they freed 82 prisoners on Thursday, bringing the total released by the Taliban to 1,005.

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