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President Ashraf Ghani announced an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban coinciding with Eid, the end of the Muslim fasting month, but excluding other militant groups, such as Islamic State.

In Kunduz province in Northern Afghanistan during a Taliban attack on Afghan security forces killed at least 15 security forces in the Eastern Ghazni province, where the bomb exploded under a minibus, killing 6 people.

An explosion in southern Kandahar province past year, blamed by security forces on the Taliban, killed five UAE diplomats.

"All the mujahideen are directed to stop offensive operations against Afghan forces for the first three days of Eidul Fitr", the Taliban said in a WhatsApp message to journalists.

At least 41 people were killed and 14 others injured in separate violent attacks across two Afghan provinces, authorities said on Monday.

The clerics also recommended a ceasefire with the Taliban, who are fighting to reimpose strict Islamic law after their ouster in 2001, and Ghani endorsed the recommendation.

"There are about 200, more will be joining soon and they will be here for training and support".

It would last "from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eidul Fitr", Ghani tweeted, indicating it could run from June 12-19.

Taliban too declared ceasefire over three days over the Eid Holiday. But it added that if attacked "we will strongly defend [ourselves]".

"We hope that (the Taliban) will be committed to implementing their announcement of the cease-fire", he said.

The Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack, the group's AMAQ news agency said.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the truce was intended for the Eid holiday and would not affect the group's larger objectives, which include the removal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

But by the intractably violent standards of Afghanistan, the Taliban's first cease-fire pledge was cause for hope, and the timing seemed to present an opening for talks to prolong the break in hostilities.

The conflict has been at a stalemate for several years, and NATO's best chances of leaving lie in the Taliban agreeing to peace talks and eventually joining the government.

The attack began at 9.50 am when a suicide bomber detonated explosives outside the Education Department office in Jalalabad. At the time he also called for a ceasefire.

Taliban rebels stormed an Afghan National Army (ANA) base in Kandahar's Shah Walikot district, local media quoted a regional military spokesman as confirming.


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