Kabul, May 16
A three-day ceasefire marked by violent attacks — some claimed by the Islamic State group — ended in Afghanistan on Sunday amid calls for renewed peace talks between the government and the Taliban.
Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen said the negotiating teams of the government and the Islamic Emirate, as the Taliban refer to their ousted regime, met briefly on Saturday in Qatar. They renewed their commitment to finding a peaceful end to the war and called for an early start to talks that have been stalled, he said.
The US has been pressing for accelerated talks as it withdraws the last of its 2,500-3,500 soldiers and NATO its remaining 7,000 allied forces.
Even as the Taliban and government signed on to the ceasefire, which was declared to mark the Islamic holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, violence continued unabated in Afghanistan. A bombing on Friday in a mosque north of the capital killed 12 devotees, including the prayer leader. Another 15 people were wounded. The Taliban denied involvement and blamed the government intelligence agency.
In a statement on Sunday, the IS affiliate took responsibility for the mosque attack, saying its fighters planted an explosive device in “a worship place for disbeliever Sufis”. — AP