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Afghan police killed in Taliban attack on base

09 June 2018

An Afghan security force member stands guard in front of the Marshal Fahim military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan January 29, 2018.

"(Operations against ISIS) will continue, in fact will be even intensified during this period of ceasefire", U.S. Army General John Nicholson, commander of USA and global forces in Afghanistan, told reporters.

The Afghan Taliban on Saturday announced a surprise three-day ceasefire over the Muslim Eid holiday in the middle of June, their first offer of its kind, days after the government declared an unconditional ceasefire of its own.

A Taliban statement released early on Saturday said its commanders had also been told to free captives they were sure would not rejoin Government forces.

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On Friday, senior US officials said they will intensify combat against the ISIS affiliate in the country during the Kabul government's temporary halt to attacks on the Taliban.

Mohammad Haroon Chakhansuri, spokesman for the Afghan president, also welcomed the ceasefire announcement during a news conference in Kabul, saying "we hope that they will be committed to implementing their announcement of the cease-fire".

The United States intends to step up military operations against the militant Islamic State group in eastern Afghanistan during a temporary ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban, senior U.S. officials said on Friday.The Islamic State group has developed a stronghold in Nangarhar, on the porous eastern border with Pakistan and is among the countrys most unsafe militants since it appeared around 2015. The Taliban, seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster at the hands of US -led troops, have launched attacks during Eid in the past.

In the meantime, Taliban insurgents have continued to carry out attacks.

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The palace statement referred to a gathering of Afghanistan's top clerics last week in which they issued a decree against suicide attacks and called for peace talks. At the time he also called for a ceasefire.

Ghani has urged ceasefires with the Taliban before, but this was the first unconditional offer since he was elected in 2014.

Even such a brief cessation of hostilities would bring welcome relief to civilians in the war-torn country, almost 17 years after the Taliban regime was toppled.

The Taliban's announcement comes as Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are due to sit down to a summit in Singapore on Tuesday, something few people would have predicted just months ago when threats between the two sides were at their most bellicose.

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Afghan police killed in Taliban attack on base