Violence returned to Afghanistan on Monday after a three-day Eid truce killing at least seven security personnel in various Taliban attacks, officials and local media confirmed.
Muhibullah Muhib, spokesman for the police in the western Farah province, told Anadolu Agency (AA) the Taliban attacked check posts in Farah city, Anar Dara and Sheb Koh districts last night. He said five attackers were killed. The provincial administration confirmed five policemen were killed in these clashes. The local Salam Afghanistan radio reported the killing of two soldiers in the Faryab province in Taliban attacks. The Taliban have staged similar attacks in Helmand, Ghazni, Badghes and Kunduz provinces. Taking responsibility for these attacks, Zabihullah Mujahed, the Taliban spokesman, tweeted that at least 27 security forces were killed in these offensives dubbed as part of the "al-Khandaq" spring offensives. Sunday was the third and last day of the cease-fire declared by the Taliban and the sixth day of the cease-fire announced by the government. Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has hinted to extend the cease-fire. The Taliban announced Sunday they would not extend their ceasefire with Afghan police and troops despite describing the truce as "successful" and a demonstration that the militants were united. "The mujaheddin across the country are ordered to continue their operations against the foreign invaders and their domestic stooges as usual," the group said in a statement, as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The first formal nationwide ceasefire since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion had sparked extraordinary scenes of Taliban fighters, security forces and civilians happily celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday together. Some people took to social media to express their disappointment and anger at the Taliban's refusal to extend the truce. "Once again, they have shown that they love shedding the blood of innocent Afghans," Madena Momad wrote on Facebook. Another user wrote: "The Taliban have no respect for the norms and lives of Afghan people." Meanwhile, dozens of peace protesters arrived in Kabul yesterday after walking hundreds of kilometers across war-battered Afghanistan. The Helmand Peace Convoy reached Kabul after traveling more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) over nearly 40 days. The march began in the southern city of Lashkar Gah, in the Helmand province, an area largely under Taliban control. The protest march began with a group of nine men and picked up supporters during the long journey. They arrived in Kabul after a three-day holiday cease-fire brought rare calm to most of the country.
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