Taliban in “defense status” during Eid holidays in Afghanistan – .

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Taliban in “defense status” during Eid holidays in Afghanistan – .


Kaboul (AFP)

The Taliban said on Wednesday they would only fight in self-defense during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, but stopped before declaring a formal ceasefire.

The militants are leading large-scale offensives across Afghanistan, seizing territory, seizing border posts and surrounding towns, with the almost complete withdrawal of foreign troops.

“I can confirm that we are in defense status during Eid,” a Taliban spokesperson told AFP, without giving further details.

Eid al-Adha is one of the biggest festivals in the Muslim calendar, and cattle are sacrificed to be shared with the less privileged. In Afghanistan, the celebrations began on Monday and will continue until the end of Friday.

In recent Islamic holidays, activists have declared a break from fighting with government forces, providing a brief respite for Afghans who can visit their families in relative safety.

But the group has been criticized for using ceasefires to strengthen its positions and supply fighters, allowing them to attack Afghan security forces once the truce expires.

Taliban comment comes a day after President Ashraf Ghani said in a speech that the Taliban had proved “that they had neither will nor intention for peace” as negotiations between the two warring parties had scarcely succeeded .

Minutes before his address, at least three rockets landed near the presidential palace where Ghani held open-air prayers with senior officials to mark the start of Eid.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

Although ideologically different, the much smaller ISIS has in the past been accused of acting as a proxy for the Taliban, especially in attacks on civilian officials.

More than a dozen diplomatic missions in Kabul this week called for an “urgent end” to the Taliban’s current offensive, saying it was at odds with claims they want a political deal to end the Taliban. conflict.

The statement followed another round of inconclusive talks in Doha over the weekend between the two sides, many of which hoped would revive the troubled peace process.

Over the weekend, Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said he “vigorously promotes” a political settlement, even as the hard-line Islamist movement capitalizes on final stages of state-led foreign troop withdrawal -United.

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