Kabul, May 10 (EFE).- The Taliban on Monday announced a three-day nationwide unilateral ceasefire during the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, following a significant increase in violence in recent days in the country.
“In order that the Mujahideen (the name by which the Taliban refer to themselves) again provide a peaceful and secure atmosphere to our compatriots during Eid-ul-Fitr so that they may celebrate this joyous occasion with a greater peace of mind, all Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate are instructed to halt all offensive operations against the enemy countrywide from the first till the third day of Eid,” the Taliban’s press office said in a statement on Monday.
Eid is expected to be celebrated in the middle of this week in Afghanistan.
However, the Taliban told their fighters that “if the enemy conducts any assault or attack against you during these days, stand ready to robustly protect and defend yourselves and your territory.”
Unlike previous ceasefires, the Taliban also instructed their fighters not to visit government-controlled areas or allow government officials to enter Taliban-controlled areas during the ceasefire.
This is the fourth ceasefire announcement in nearly two decades of conflict in Afghanistan and comes at a time of increasing violence in the Asian country.
The Afghan government welcomed the announcement and said it would also be announcing a ceasefire soon.
“We welcome the announcement of ceasefire during Eid-ul-Fitr days, although this announcement came after so many lives have been lost. But it is a good step to save lives of other people of this country,” Faraidoon Khwazoon, spokesperson of the High Council for National Reconciliation, said on Twitter.
“Hope this announcement is extended and continues with a constructive and meaningful negotiation,” he added, referring to the intra-Afghan talks that have been underway in Qatar since September without any major progress.
The announcement of the brief ceasefire comes amid a significant increase in armed violence in the country in the last ten days, following the start of the final phase of the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan on May 1, a process which is expected to be completed by early September.