Taliban fighters, residents and security forces greet each other enthusiastically, amid a three-day ceasefire call to mark Eid.

In scenes that would have seemed impossible a few days ago, members of the Afghan Taliban have been pictured embracing Afghan security forces amid a three-day ceasefire called to mark Eid.

Similar encounters across the country have been documented by local media.

Militants also met Interior Minister Wais Barmak in the capital Kabul.

However there were reports of deaths in a blast at a gathering of Taliban and Afghan security officials in the city of Nangahar in eastern Afghanistan.

President Ashraf Ghani wants the ceasefire to lead to a longer peace and has called for the Taliban to negotiate.

Earlier this month the Taliban denied that they were in secret talks with the Afghan government.

Mr Ghani has also confirmed the death of the commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Maulana Fazlullah, in a US drone strike in Afghanistan.

(Taliban militants, soldiers and residents mingle in Kunduz )

For many Afghans these are extraordinary scenes. The two sides were fighting each other just a few days ago. The unprecedented development has raised hopes of permanent peace in the war ravaged country.

Neighbouring Pakistan is considered key in starting the peace process as many Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to be living inside the country.

However Islamabad accuses Kabul of harbouring Islamist insurgents who have carried out several violent attacks inside Pakistan in the past.

But the killing in Afghanistan of Mullah Fazlullah, one of Pakistan’s most wanted militants, could address some of Islamabad’s security concerns.

            (A militant hugs a member of the Afghan police in Kunduz )

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