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United States forces have destroyed 40 Humvees captured by Taliban since 2015

08 June 2018

The ceasefire will last "from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr", the president tweeted from an official account, indicating it could run from June 12-19.

He added that the cease-fire is an opportunity for Taliban to "introspect that their violent campaign is not winning them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause".

The Afghan Taliban frequently attacked outposts of the government during the last few years to capture expensive equipment which was then used to launch attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, reported USA Today.

"We will adhere to the wishes of Afghanistan for the country to enjoy a peaceful end to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and support the search for an end to the conflict", General John Nicholson said in a statement.

He has urged ceasefires with the Taliban before, but this was the first unconditional offer since his election in 2014.

The U.S. State Department said that "the Afghan government's offer of a temporary cease-fire underscores its commitment to peace as both a national and religious responsibility".

There was no immediate comment from the Taliban, who have steadily expanded their presence in recent years, capturing a number of districts across the country and carrying out near-daily attacks, mainly targeting Afghan security forces.

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The abrupt nature of Mr. Ghani's call was sure to rattle military units, which have been pinned down by the Taliban and which, over 17 years of consistent fighting, have not given much thought to how they might carry out a cease-fire. Troops would also be on standby to respond to attacks.

Last month, the Pentagon said that senior Taliban officials have been secretly negotiating with Afghan officials on a possible ceasefire.

A suicide bombing outside the gathering, attended by around 2,000 Muslim clerics, scholars, and figures of authority in religion and law from across Afghanistan, killed at least seven people, including several clerics.

USA -backed Afghan forces also have stepped up anti-Taliban offensive operations, inflicting heavy casualties on the insurgents and retaking some of the last ground during recent operations.

The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014, but the U.S. still has thousands of forces based there in a support and counterterrorism role.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has led global security efforts in Afghanistan since 2003.