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Taliban launch attacks as Afghan govt ceasefire starts

AFP  |  Mazar-i-Sharif (Afghanistan) 

fighters killed a and took control of his district in northern as clashes broke out across the country, officials said today, accusing the militants of defying the start of a government ceasefire with them.

There was intense fighting between Afghan security forces and gunmen in the northern provinces of Faryab and Sari Pul, with officials reporting an unspecified number of casualties on both sides.

The of district in Faryab was killed along with eight others in an ambush overnight, provincial spokesman told AFP, blaming the

He said the militants had seized control of the district. That was confirmed by

The Taliban claimed the Faryab attack as well as one in Sayad district of neighbouring where said fighting was still under way.

"Last night large numbers of Taliban attacked several villages... the fighting continues and both sides have casualties," Amani told AFP.

"We have asked for more reinforcements."

A suicide bomber driving a Humvee and gunmen also attacked a district government building in the southeastern province of overnight, killing five people, all police officers, and wounding 26, including the district governor, told AFP.

Noori blamed the Taliban for the attack, although no group has so far claimed responsibility.

"The ceasefire went on effect this morning," said.

"We have ordered our forces to defend with all their power if they are attacked by an enemy that has no respect for anything." The attacks come as Pakistan's powerful visits where he was set to meet with Ashraf Ghani, Pakistan's said.

has long been accused of supporting the Taliban and providing safe haven to its leaders -- charges denies.

Ghani on Thursday announced police and troops would halt hostilities with the Taliban for eight days -- though he warned that operations against other groups, including Islamic State group, would continue.

The Taliban said Saturday their fighters would stop attacking Afghan security forces but only for the first three days of Eid, the holiday capping Ramadan, that begins at the end of this week.

They said they would continue attacking US-led NATO troops.

If it holds, analysts had expressed cautious optimism that the agreements could help build trust between the government and the Taliban and lay the groundwork for peace talks. But with myriad armed groups in Afghanistan, there are still fears that IS could continue to carry out attacks -- or even be helped by the Haqqani Network, a brutal arm of the Taliban that is suspected of partnering with IS on attacks in in the past.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 12 2018. 18:25 IST