Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Afghan, US Forces to Temporarily Halt Anti-Taliban Offensive

The clerics also recommended a ceasefire with the Taliban, who are seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law and Mr Ghani endorsed the proposal, announcing a laying down of arms until June 20.

The cease-fire is "an opportunity for Taliban to introspect that their violent campaign is not wining [sic] them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause", the president wrote on Twitter.

'[At] the same time, the Afghan government directs all the security and defence forces of the stop all the attacks on the Taliban, but the operation will continue against Daesh (Islamic State), Al-Qaeda and other global terrorist networks'.

"We will adhere to the wishes of Afghanistan for the country to enjoy a peaceful end to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and support the search for an end to the conflict", said Gen. John Nicholson, the top USA commander in Afghanistan and head of the NATO-led Resolute Support training mission.

"We are aware of President Ghani's announcement, but have nothing else to add at this time", a spokesman for the United States military said.

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The statement said the ceasefire, which the global military indicated it would honor, follows the Afghan government's call for unconditional peace talks with the Taliban at the Kabul Process II conference in the Afghan capital in February.

Nicholson said the ceasefire could free resources for operations against Islamic State, but some would remain to monitor the Taliban and for force protection.

"I'm quite skeptical of this ceasefire having a significant impact - the Taliban responded earlier to Ghani's unprecedented and unconditional peace offer with more attacks and violence", said Jawid Kohistani, a former Afghan army official in Kabul.

Trump previous year said 16,000 USA troops would remain in Afghanistan indefinitely to deny terrorists a haven and support Ghani's attempts to negotiate peace with the Taliban, which is estimated to control and contest almost half of the country.

Since 2005, the United States purchased 95,000 vehicles for the Afghan security forces, but the coalition command responsible for equipping the country's army and police could not account for the entire inventory, according to a Pentagon inspector general's report.

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Even as US officials express a desire for a political end to the war, it remains uncertain whether the Trump administration will devote significant resources to kindling a peace process with the Taliban.

U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said they would honour the ceasefire. The local branch of the Islamic State, which is not included in the cease-fire announcement, claimed responsibility for that attack.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during during a peace and security cooperation conference in Kabul, Afghanistan Feb. 28, 2018.

"Even the Taliban political commission say that there could be no military solution, there has to be a political solution".

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