Afghanistan’s Taliban has rejected an extension to a three-day cease-fire coinciding with the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a nine-day extension of the cease-fire after a suicide bombing killed 36 people on Saturday, in hopes that the Taliban would respond in kind.
But on Sunday the Taliban announced that their cease-fire had ended and that they have no intention of extending it. “The cease-fire was announced by the Taliban for just the three days of the Eid holidays which have come to an end this Sunday evening,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement. “All Mujahidin (Taliban) should continue their operations against foreign invaders and their puppets,”
The Taliban’s statement added that their cease-fire for their fighters to celebrate the holiday peacefully and not in response to the government’s cease-fire announcement.
An Afghan official says a suicide bombing in the eastern city of Jalalabad has killed at least 19 people.
Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, says the attack took place near the governor’s compound on Sunday, as Taliban fighters, Afghan security forces and civilians were celebrating the third day of a holiday cease-fire.
A similar attack in Jalalabad on Saturday killed at least 36 people.
No one has claimed the attacks, but they appear to be the work of the Islamic State group, which is not included in the cease-fire and has clashed with the Taliban in the past.
An Afghan official says the death toll from a suicide bombing against a gathering of Taliban fighters celebrating a holiday cease-fire has risen to 36.
Najibullah Kamawal, director of the health department in the eastern Nangarhar province, says another 65 people were wounded in Saturday’s attack.
The bomber targeted a gathering of fighters who were celebrating a three-day truce coinciding with the Eid al-Fitr holiday. No one immediately claimed the attack, but it was likely carried out by the Islamic State group, which was not included in the cease-fire and has clashed with the Taliban in the past.
After the attack, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a nine-day extension of the cease-fire. There was no immediate word from the Taliban on whether they would observe the extension.