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US welcomes three-day ceasefire announcement by Taliban and Afghan govt during Eid

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Press Trust of India Washington
The US on Sunday welcomed the announcements by the Taliban and Afghanistan's president to observe a three-day ceasefire for Eid, expressing hope that it would build trust between the two sides.
Hours before the three-day festival of Eid al-Fitr was due to begin, Taliban made the declaration that they would attack only if their positions were hit, leading President Ashraf Ghani to welcome the move shortly afterwards, and release a statement saying security and defence forces would comply.
We worked hard to achieve this moment, and I hope that this respite from conflict gives Afghan people the space and security they deserve to celebrate Eid, while allowing the Taliban and the government the opportunity to take additional steps toward a peaceful future for their country, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
Sending Eid greetings, Pompeo said that the US remains committed to the implementation of the Taliban agreement and the US-Afghanistan Joint Declaration.
The US-Taliban peace deal was signed in Doha on February 29.
The agreement with the Taliban calls for the fundamentalists to severe ties with international terrorist groups and to prevent them from using Afghanistan to carry out attacks against the US.
Under the terms of the deal, the Taliban would also participate in an intra-Afghan dialogue. While negotiations were scheduled to begin on Tuesday, they were postponed due to renewed violence and political discord at the highest levels of the government.
With the political crisis in Afghanistan resolved, I expect newly named Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Dr Abdullah Abdullah and President Ghani to seize the opportunity to remove the remaining obstacles that have delayed the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, starting with releasing prisoners, he said,

Pompeo said that he expects the Taliban to adhere to their commitment not to allow released prisoners to return to the battlefield.
Finally, I expect both leaders of the Afghan government and the Taliban not to escalate violence after Eid. This violence is counterproductive, deepens grievances, and prolongs the suffering of the Afghan people, he said.
Peace is the consistent and overwhelming desire of the Afghan people, he said hoping that this ceasefire can build trust.
Next, all sides should work together to build on the momentum of this historic Eid ceasefire to move with urgency to intra-Afghan negotiations, Pompeo said.

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First Published: May 24 2020 | 8:44 PM IST

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