In photos: Afghans celebrate Eid ul Fitr with joy and hope for the future

Salaam Times

Members of an honour guard greet each other June 15 after offering Eid ul Fitr prayers in Mazar-e-Sharif. [Farshad/Usyan/AFP]

Muslims hug each other after offering prayers at the start of Eid ul Fitr at the Shah-e Do Shamshira mosque in downtown Kabul June 15. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

Women offer prayers at the start of Eid ul Fitr in Herat Province June 15. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

Men offer prayers June 15, the first day of Eid ul Fitr, in Herat Province. [Hoshang Hashimi/AFP]

Boys and girls ride swings and play in Asadabad, Kunar Province, June 15. [Khalid Zerai]

A teenage girl plays traditional music for her friends June 15 in Watapur District, Kunar Province. [Khalid Zerai]

Taliban militants walk on the outskirts of Jalalabad June 16 as they take to the street to celebrate the ceasefire on the second day of Eid ul Fitr. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

Taliban militants ride a motorbike as they celebrate the second day of Eid ul Fitr in the outskirts of Jalalabad June 16. [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

Kabul residents welcome Taliban fighters entering the city from Wardak-Ghazni highway June 16. [Andrew Quilty/Twitter]

A woman places a turban on the head of a Taliban fighter as a traditional sign of respect and dignity in Nangarhar Province June 17. A number of women demanded that the militants extend the ceasefire beyond the three days of Eid ul Fitr. [Nangarhar Provincial Media Office/Facebook]

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.


Taliban militants and local residents stand on an Afghan National Army (ANA) Humvee as they June 17 celebrate the unprecedented ceasefire on the third day of Eid ul Fitr in Maiwand District of Kandahar Province. [Javed Tanveer/AFP]

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.]

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