KABUL -- Afghans across the country celebrated a relatively peaceful Eid ul Fitr after the Taliban agreed to a temporary ceasefire with the Afghan government for the three days marking the end of Ramadan.
In a bid to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, the Afghan government on June 7 announced a week-long ceasefire with the group starting June 12. The Taliban agreed to hold the ceasefire June 15-17.
Kabul extended its ceasefire with the Taliban by 10 days on June 17 but said security forces would defend themselves if attacked.
President Ashraf Ghani also requested the Taliban extend their ceasefire, but the militant group said fighting would resume.
But for the three days marking Eid ul Fitr, jubilant scenes of Taliban and Afghan security forces' spontaneous celebrations showed that many fighters on both sides are fed up with fighting.
In scenes unimaginable only a few days ago, Taliban fighters and security forces were seen hugging and taking selfies together around the country.
Civilians, who have borne the brunt of the bloody war, also flocked to greet the insurgents as they entered urban areas that they usually visit only to attack, including Kabul.
"We have held the ceasefire well so far," Taliban commander Baba told AFP during celebrations in Nangarhar June 16.
"Everyone is tired of war, and if our leaders order us to continue the ceasefire, we will hold it forever," he said.
"I used to not buy myself new clothes and shoes because I did not enjoy previous Eids," Helaluddin, 35, a resident of Jalalabad, told Salaam Times. "This year I bought new clothes and a new vest to celebrate a peaceful Eid."
[Khalid Zerai from Kunar Province contributed to this article.]
How likely are the Taliban to hold direct peace talks with the Afghan government before presidential elections in July?