UN secretary-general urges Taliban to accept Ghani's ceasefire


NEW YORK -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the Taliban on Thursday (June 7) to observe the ceasefire declared by the Afghan government to mark the Eid ul Fitr holiday.

Guterres, in a statement, also called on the Taliban to enter into direct peace talks with the Afghan government.

The UN chief welcomed the unilateral ceasefire announced by the Afghan government for Eid.

He urged the Taliban to "reciprocate the temporary ceasefire and accept President Ashraf Ghani's peace offer to commence direct talks to bring an end to the long suffering of the Afghan people."

The week-long ceasefire will last "from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid ul Fitr", said Ghani Thursday, indicating it could run from June 12-19.

The ceasefire is the first during Eid since the US invasion in 2001.

US Forces Afghanistan said they would honor the ceasefire, although they seconded Ghani's stipulation that it did not extend to the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) or to other international terrorist groups.

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