Agencies (Qasioun) - The Afghan Taliban on Saturday announced a surprise three-day ceasefire over the Muslim Eid holiday in the middle of June, their first offer of its kind, days after the government declared an unconditional ceasefire of its own.
The militants said foreign forces would be excluded from the ceasefire and that operations against them would continue. They also said they would defend themselves against any attack.
"Members of the Taliban should not participate in public gatherings during the Eid festivities because the enemy could target us," they said in a statement.
There was no immediate official response from the government but Omar Zakhilwal, Afghanistan's Ambassador to neighboring Pakistan, described the announcement as an "important step towards prospects for peace."
"Hope the pleasure of shedding no Afghan blood in Eid becomes so overwhelming that rest of year is also declared as Afghan Eid," he said on Twitter.
The Taliban attacked security outposts in the Zawul district of western Herat province on Friday night, killing 17 troops and wounding several, Jelani Farhad, spokesman for the provincial governor, said.