Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban have announced a three-day cease-fire for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday starting Friiday.

“All mujahideen are instructed not to carry out any operation against the enemy during the three days and nights of Eid”, the Taliban said in a statement, adding that they would retaliate if they were attacked.

The Afghan government said it had ordered its security forces to observe the cease-fire that follows weeks of increasing violence.

“I look forward to both sides fulfilling their commitments and moving quickly to intra-Afghan negotiations”, Ross Wilson, charge d’affaires at the US embassy in Kabul, tweeted.

Under the US-Taliban deal signed in February, the Afghan government is supposed to release up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners while the insurgents would free about 1,000 Afghan security force personnel.

The prison swap was delayed because of a political feud between president Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah. On May 17, both leaders reached a power-sharing deal.

Although the Taliban have refrained from attacking US forces, militants continue to attack Afghan security forces. Since the US-Taliban agreement, 3,560 Afghan security forces personnel have been killed in attacks by militants, Ghani said Tuesday.

He added that the delayed intra-Afghan peace talks could begin “in a week’s time”, following the completion of the prisoner exchange. To date, Kabul has freed about 4,000 militants and the Taliban nearly 800 government forces.


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