The Taliban in Afghanistan has for the first time announced a three-day ceasefire over the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of this week, following a ceasefire announced by the government.
The armed group said on Saturday that the ceasefire would exclude foreign forces, and that it would defend itself against any attack.
In a televised address on Thursday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban until June 20, coinciding with the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Ghani said fighting against other armed groups such as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) will continue.
The surprise move by the government came days after a gathering of Afghanistan’s top religious leaders in the capital, Kabul, issued a fatwa – a religious edict issued by an expert in Islamic law – against suicide bombings and attacks.
The religious gathering was attacked on Monday by a suicide bomber, killing at least seven people.
The Taliban had denounced the gathering, insisting its fight against what it considers are foreign invaders was justified. It instead urged the religious scholars to side with it against the “occupation” of the country.
It was not immediately clear when the Taliban ceasefire would begin, as Eid starts when the moon is first sighted on either the 29th or 30th day of Ramadan, and the moon appears at different times across the country.
The Taliban’s statement added that the leadership of the Taliban may also consider releasing prisoners of war, if they promise not to return to the battlefield.