Taliban holds passengers after Afghan bus attacks

Dr Mohammad Faisal

This comes after Ghani announced a conditional ceasefire on Sunday.

Taliban's political office head Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai will head a delegation to a meeting in Moscow next month, diplomatic source in Kabul said on Saturday.

"The order was issued for operations, today and last night there were operations in at least four or five provinces", said Chakhansuri.

The government had previously announced a cease-fire with the Taliban during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in June.

"The cease-fire should be observed from both sides, and its continuation and duration also depend on the Taliban's stand", Ghani stressed.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani declared a provisional three-month ceasefire with the Taliban in a televised broadcast August 19, but said the truce would hold only if the militants reciprocated.

"We want the ceasefire to be on a permanent basis", another resident, Abdullah said.

Some Afghans worry that the Taliban could take advantage of another cease-fire, considering the strength they've shown recently.

The truce announcement came a day after clashes erupted in the northern province of Faryab, an interior ministry official said. "The Afghan government has removed all obstacles for a long lasting peace through these unprecedented steps".

"We deployed our people to different places of the main highway and started searching all vehicles passing through the road to capture Afghan army and policemen", a Taliban commander told NBC News on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

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"It is our hope, and that of the global community, that the Afghan people may celebrate Eid al-Adha this year in peace, free from fear".

"Ceasefire and peace are among the fundamental aspirations of the Afghan people, our people want the ceasefire to be for permanent basis", said Anwarul Haq Ahadi, chairman New National Front of Afghanistan.

President Ghani made the announcement Sunday during celebrations of the 99th anniversary of Afghanistan's independence in the capital of Kabul.

The militants, fighting to expel Western forces and defeat the Western-backed Kabul government, said they would free hundreds of prisoners, without going into further details.

Former president Hamid Karzai, who issued a statement on Monday, failed to mention the ceasefire but said the only solution to the ongoing crisis in the country is to convene a traditional Loya Jirga.

"The overall strategic objective of advancing the peace process in our view is worth the tactical risk, even as we work hard with them to manage the tactical risk", Nicholson said.

Karzai also called on the Taliban to end their war and engage in Afghan-owned talks.

KABUL-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday proposed a conditional three-month cease-fire in the government's USA -backed war against the Taliban, seeking to regain political momentum following a string of devastating battlefield losses to security forces at the hands of the insurgents.

Reports have meanwhile emerged that Russian Federation is planning to meet with the Taliban in Moscow on September 4.

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