NATO welcomes Afghan Eid al-Fitr ceasefire
NATO has welcomed the announcement of a three-day cease-fire in Afghanistan during the Muslim celebration of the end of Ramadan – Eid al-Fitr.
“I welcome the statements by the government of Afghanistan & the Taliban on a 3-day ceasefire over Eid. All parties should seize this opportunity for peace, for the benefit of all Afghans,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on his Twitter micro blog on May 23.
“NATO remains committed to Afghanistan’s long-term security,” he underlined.
In a message preceeding the celebrations, the insurgents made the surprise announcement amid escalating conflict and a fragile peace process, directing militants to stay out of areas under the government control, but adding government forces could visit Taliban-controlled areas.
In a similar holiday truce two years ago, there were unprecedented scenes of foes embracing each other and taking selfies.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the announcement, explaining that he instructed the military to comply.
“President Ghani today initiated a process to release up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners as a good will gesture in response to the Taliban’s announcement of a ceasefire during Eid,” Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi announced on Twitter.