Taliban members take selfies, hug Afghan soldiers during Eid ceasefire
Dozens of Taliban members entered the Afghan capital on Saturday. They were unarmed and were met with greetings and hugs by civilians and soldiers in a ceasefire attempt for the Eid holiday.
The militants, some wearing traditional headgear, went through the streets of Kabul carrying their flags and urging locals to come forward and take selfies with them.
Photos and videos on social media showed cheerful Talban exchanging hugs with Afghan soldiers and taking selfies with them across several provinces as they approached the capital.
“They are unarmed as they handed over their weapons at the entrances,” Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai told Reuters, adding that the weapons would be returned when the fighters leave the city.
The militants even met Afghan Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak in the capital, TOLO news reported.
Atmar on Taliban-soldiers selfies: ‘War flames fueled from outside’: By Javed Hamim Kakar on 16 June 2018 KABUL (Pajhwok): Reacting to video and pictures on social media showing cheerful soldiers and... read more https://t.co/o8LoNhYFiSpic.twitter.com/yjFY0pmqBH— Pajhwok Afghan News (@pajhwok) June 16, 2018
The group earlier announced they would suspend hostilities with the government forces for three days to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid. This is the first time the Taliban has ever extended an offer of this kind to the Afghan government. The truce was cut short by an explosion at a meeting of Taliban and Afghan security forces in the eastern province of Nangarhar that killed at least ten people.
In the spirit of unity, #Kunduz residents, security forces, Taliban members and the provincial governor Abdul Jabbar Naeemi celebrate Eid-al-Fitr on Friday night in Kunduz city center. All parties adhered to the #Eid ceasefire #Afghanistan#Ceasefirepic.twitter.com/P2U88rqxTF— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) June 16, 2018
National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar reacted to the cheerful selfies and hugs by saying that foreign countries and their intelligence agencies “have been keeping alive the flames of war in Afghanistan to reach their nefarious designs,” and that Afghans under “no circumstances want the war to continue.”
In April, the Islamic fundamentalist militant group intensified its annual spring offensive, as they vowed to target the “American invaders.” Since then, heavy clashes have repeatedly broken out across the conflict-ridden country, with dozens of deaths of Afghan soldiers and police officers. In the meantime, foreign forces in Afghanistan are excluded from the Eid truce.
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