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UN chief urges Taliban to observe Eid ceasefire

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the Taliban on Thursday to observe the ceasefire declared by the Afghan government to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Guterres, in a statement, also called on the Taliban to enter into direct peace talks with the Afghan government.

The UN chief welcomed the unilateral ceasefire announced by the Afghan government for Eid, the holiday that caps the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

He urged the Taliban to “reciprocate the temporary ceasefire and accept President Ashraf Ghani s peace offer to commence direct talks to bring an end to the long suffering of the Afghan people.”

Ghani said the week-long ceasefire will last “from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid al-Fitr,” indicating it could run from June 12-19.

The ceasefire is the first during Eid since the US invasion in 2001.

The US forces in Afghanistan said they will honor the ceasefire, although they seconded Ghani s stipulation that it did not extend to the Islamic State organization and other groups.

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