Afghanistan Eid car bomb, claimed by Islamic State, kills 26

Afghanistan Eid car bomb, claimed by Islamic State, kills 26

Afghanistan Eid car bomb, claimed by Islamic State, kills 26

Rare scenes have been reported in Afghanistan of Taliban fighters and government security forces shaking hands and embracing during an unprecedented ceasefire to mark Eid.

A blast hit a gathering of Taliban and Afghan security officials, meeting to celebrate the end of Ramadan fasting season, in the eastern city of Nangarhar on Saturday, officials said.

Resident Mohammad Amir said he saw the Taliban casually entering the city of Kunduz. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group and the Taliban-linked Haqqani network have also been carrying out attacks in Afghanistan.

They said they would continue attacking USA -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops.

No report of violence could be reported over the past 24 hours after the Taliban's ceasefire went into effect on Friday, overlapping with an Afghan government ceasefire which lasts until Wednesday. The Taliban urged people to come forward and pose for the camera.

In a on June 16 televised address announcing an extension of the government's cease-fire, Ghani said he was prepared to discuss Taliban demands, including the status of foreign forces in Afghanistan in the future. "This can not happen unless America leaves (Afghanistan)", he told AFP.

"I am here to offer greetings to our brothers in the police and army", Taliban commander Baba said.

Photos were taken of Afghan Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak meeting with Taliban fighters on the streets of Kabul.

His office said a ban had been lifted on Taliban fighters receiving normal state assistance and benefits.

In Nangarhar, a large number of Taliban arrived in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital, and in the district centers and met with their relatives and security forces.

Two days after Ghani announced the ceasefire, Taliban, issued a statement and ordered its fighters not to clash with the Afghan security forces for the first three days of Eid.

A video showed a huge crowd of people screaming and whistling as they welcomed the Taliban.

The development comes days after president Ashraf Ghani announced a ceasefire with the group, garnering support from United Nations and China as well.

Only a few days before, this bonhomie would have been unthinkable as the two sides have not held a ceasefire since the 2001 USA invasion. In some districts of the eastern city of Jalalabad, civilians were offering dry fruit, traditional candies and ice cream to Taliban militants.

Barnett R Rubin, an Afghanistan at the Center on worldwide cCooperation, said the ceasefire will make it easier for high-level talks to occur as Taliban fighters had strictly obeyed the command of their leaders.

NATO's Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan and US Forces said in a joint statement they would respect the announcement.

A Taliban fighter on a motorbike carrying Afghan and Taliban flags warned long-lasting peace would only be achieved if U.S. forces left the country.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed Ghani's address, saying peace talks would have to include a discussion on the role of "international actors and forces".

"I hope that Inshallah peace will remain in Afghanistan and an Islamic government will come in to power across the world", Hasibullah, a Taliban member said.

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