Taliban to resume fighting as it ends first ceasefire in 17 years

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was shot by militants in 2012 as she sat on a school bus and championed girls education

MARKUS SCHREIBER AP Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was shot by militants in 2012 as she sat on a school bus and championed girls' education

An Afghan official says a suicide bomber blew himself up in the middle of a gathering of mostly Taliban members who were celebrating a three-day cease-fire outside the Nangarhar provincial capital of Jalalabad, killing 11 and wounding another 12 people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the suicide attack in Jalalabad city, outside the office of the Nangarhar provincial governor.

Ghani also said that a cease-fire could be accompanied with visits to their prisoners and treatment for their fighters at hospitals in Afghanistan.

No group including the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. But over the past two days Taliban fighters could be seen celebrating the truce alongside Afghan troops and other people in a number of locations.

The Taliban spokesman rejected rumors that the insurgents would extend their cease-fire late Saturday and on Sunday the Associated Press reported that a Taliban spokesman declared the cease-fire over.

Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Masood Azizi said the ceasefire was being monitored throughout the country.

In a message sent on WhatsApp, the Taliban said: "All the Mujahideen are directed to stop offensive operations against Afghan forces for the first three days of Eid-al-Fitr". It overlaps with an Afghan government cease-fire which was due to end on Wednesday before the Afghan president extended the truce. They have also demanded the withdrawal of all foreign forces.

Elsewhere, there were scenes of crowds cheering as Taliban fighters and Afghan soldiers embraced.

"The incident has nothing to do with the Taliban", spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters.

President Ashraf Ghani said in an address to the nation he would extend the ceasefire with the Taliban but failed to give a time-frame. Several local Taliban leaders said they supported an extended truce, although there are still sharp divisions among its national leadership that could split on conditions for peace talks or on a future political role for insurgents.

Thursday's drone strike, which reportedly killed Fazlullah and five other insurgents when missiles slammed into the auto in which they were driving, occurred just hours before Afghanistan's Taliban began a three-day cease fire.

In northern Kunduz province, Doctor Abdul Majhid said almost 2,000 Taliban were seen celebrating in the city, many of them with family and friends but also several were seen celebrating with Afghan Security Forces.

For many Afghans it has been first glimpse of peace in their lifetime.

Video and pictures on news websites showed cheerful soldiers and Taliban hugging one another and exchanging Eid greetings in Logar province, south of Kabul, in Zabul in the south and in central Maidan Wardak. "I saw Taliban and police standing side by side and taking selfies".

The chairman of the High Peace Council, a government body charged with negotiating an end to the almost 17-year war, called on the Taliban to accept the extended cease-fire and join the peace process.

"We are all just so exhausted of war", he said. It is hard to describe the joy, ' said student Qais Liwal.

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