Taliban announces first ceasefire in Afghanistan since 2001

The truce will coincide with the Eid-al-Fitr holiday, and follows a similar announcement by the Afghan government

Taliban announces first ceasefire in Afghanistan since 2001

File photo - military vehicles are seen during an operation in Nad Ali district of Helmand province, Afghanistan. Picture by: Abdul Aziz Safdari/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

The Taliban in Afghanistan has announced a temporary ceasefire to coincide with an Islamic holiday this month.

It is the first such truce announced by the militant group since Afghanistan was invaded by US-led forces in 2001, Al Jazeera reports.

The three-day ceasefire will take place over the Eid-al-Fitr holiday, although the exact start date was not immediately clear.

It's reported that the truce will exclude foreign forces, with the Taliban also stating it will defend itself against any attacks.

The ceasefire decision follows a similar announcement by the Afghan government, who said their unilateral ceasefire - which coincides with the end of Ramadan - would continue until June 20th.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said: "We welcome the three days ceasefire announced by the Taliban starting on the first day of Eid. This comes following the bold decision by the Islamic republic of Afghanistan to cease the fight for a period of time."

Announcing his own government's ceasefire earlier this week, Mr Ghani said: "This ceasefire is an opportunity for Taliban to introspect that their violent campaign is not wining them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause."

Although most foreign forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan - the US continues to have around 15,000 troops in the country - frequent clashes have continued between the Taliban and security forces.

On Friday night, Taliban fighters are reported to have attacked security outposts in western Afghanistan, killing at least 17 troops.