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News > World

Attack Kills Taliban, Afghan Soldiers Celebrating Eid Ceasefire

  • A man mourns after the bomb attack shattered peaceful celebrations between Afghan government and Taliban forces.

    A man mourns after the bomb attack shattered peaceful celebrations between Afghan government and Taliban forces. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 June 2018

At least 26 were killed by an attack against Taliban and Afghan security forces who had been celebrating a peaceful Eid together.

Taliban and Afghan security forces were celebrating an unprecedented ceasefire with hugs and selfies when a car bomb blast interrupted the festivities, killing at least 26 in Nangarhar, Afghanistan on Saturday.

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The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack. It was confirmed by Attaullah Khogyani, spokesperson for the province of Nangarhar, that a car bomb was responsible for the blast that killed 26 and wounded dozens more.

Dozens of unarmed Taliban fighters had entered the Afghan capital and other cities to celebrate the end of Ramadan. The unprecedented ceasefire saw Taliban fighters exchanging hugs and selfies with their fellow countrymen in the Afghan security forces.

Taliban members who had laid down weapons entered Kabul and met with crowds who came forward to take pictures with the fighters. Video and pictures on news websites showed cheerful soldiers and Taliban hugging one another and exchanging Eid greetings in Logar province, south of Kabul, in Zabul in the south and in central Maidan Wardak. Some people were dancing and clapping as onlookers took photos.

People celebrate a ceasefire between Afghan government forces and the Taliban. Source: Reuters
Afghans take selfies with a Taliban fighter during a ceasefire declared for Eid. Source: Reuters

Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak met Taliban fighters in Kabul, Tolo news said: an unthinkable prospect just two weeks ago.

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"They are unarmed, as they handed over their weapons at the entrances," Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai told Reuters. Their weapons would be returned when they leave, he said.

"It was the most peaceful Eid. For the first time we felt safe. It is hard to describe the joy," said Qais Liwal, a student in Zabul.

Resident Mohammad Amir said his younger brother had told him the Taliban were casually entering the city. "I could not believe my eyes," he told Reuters. "I saw Taliban and police standing side by side and taking selfies."

The Taliban had announced a three-day ceasefire over Eid, laying down weapons against all national troops. Foreign, NATO and U.S. forces in the country were not included in the ceasefire. The Afghan government also declared a ceasefire which is set to last until Wednesday.

President Ashraf Ghani had taken the opportunity to address the nation, calling on the Taliban to sit down for talks to arrive at a more lasting peace.

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