INTERNATIONAL

Afghanistan extends ceasefire with Taliban

Kabul, June 17: Afghanistan has extended its unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban following an initial truce observed by both sides over the Eid festival period. President Ashraf Ghani appealed to the militants to follow the government’s lead and enter peace talks, reported BBC. In extraordinary scenes, militants have been embracing security force members and taking selfies with citizens.

However, 25 people died in a suicide attack on one gathering of Taliban and government officials in Nangarhar. Taliban members and local residents were among the victims of the attack, province spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told BBC, adding that 54 people were wounded. The Islamic State group, which is active in the area, said it carried out the attack. In a TV address, Ghani said the government was ready for “comprehensive negotiations” with the Taliban.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said peace talks would have to include a discussion on the role of “international actors and forces”. (IANS)