President Ghani announces a temporary ceasefire with the Taliban, continues to push for talks
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced a temporary ceasefire with the Taliban that will last through to June 20, the day after Eid-ul-Fitr – a holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. His announcement is the latest of a series of moves intended to deescalate the conflict ahead of key parliamentary and district council elections in October. Presidential elections are scheduled to follow in 2019.
It’s unclear whether or not the Taliban intends to honor the temporary ceasefire, which comes at a time of spiraling violence in the capital. Kabul has seen a rash of escalating attacks in 2018: 60 were killed in a suicide attack on a voter registration center on April 22 (claimed by Islamic State); 26 people, mostly Western journalists and children, were killed and 45 injured in a series of bombings on April 30 (claimed by Islamic State); and more recently the interior ministry was attacked last week (again claimed by Islamic State). Then on Monday, at least 12 people were killed in a suicide attack on a group of Muslim scholars who had just concluded their meeting by declaring a fatwa against suicide bombings.