Ramadaan truce sees Taliban militants pose for selfies in Kabul


A deadly blast ripped through a gathering in eastern Nangarhar province as dozens of Taliban group members, civilians, and security personnel were celebrating Eid Al-Fitr and the historic ceasefire.

At least 25 people have been killed in a suicide bombing in eastern Afghanistan as elsewhere across the country jubilant scenes marked the first ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghan government in 17 years.

In Kabul's Koti Sangi area security forces however arrested a Taliban member who was carrying a weapon.

Dozens of Taliban militants entered the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday as a ceasefire between the government and militants held for a second day.

"I'm 40 years old and this is the best Eid I've had in my entire life", one Kandahar resident said on a BBC radio phone-in.

"We are all just so exhausted of war", he said.

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Carrying assault weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, members of Afghanistan´s biggest militant group travelled by auto and motorbike through the contested district of Bati Kot in eastern Nangarhar province, waving Afghan and Taliban flags.

"It was the most peaceful Eid".

Bati Kot, Afghanistan: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced Saturday an extension of the government´s week-long ceasefire with the Taliban, as both sides observed a halt in hostilities for Eid.

Ghani said in his televised speech that he was ready to discuss the removal of foreign forces, which were excluded from the Taliban's ceasefire and remain a key stumbling block to peace in the eyes of many fighters. "I saw Taliban and police standing side by side and taking selfies". This is the first time that the Taliban has ever extended an offer of this kind to the Afghan government.

The Afghan government's original eight-day ceasefire, which started on Tuesday, does not include other militant groups operating in the country, including the Islamic State. "If their leaders come, sit and talk just like their soldiers we will have peace tomorrow", Said Hasibullah posted on Facebook under a photo purportedly showing a Taliban fighter and Afghan soldier having a cup of tea together.

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

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The unusual bonhomie between the two sides came as Ghani confirmed that banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Mullah Fazlullah had been killed in a U.S. drone strike.

Most of the casualties were believed to be Taliban. The wounded have been taken to hospitals for treatment, he said.

The US commander of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson said recently that the Taliban was engaged in a process of "talking and fighting", and that some factions were involved in secret peace negotiations.

They said foreign forces were exempted from their promise not to attack.

The Taliban leader in Afghanistan, Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada, said in an Eid address that his group wanted to see the USA military and other foreign forces leave Afghanistan.

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