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Dozens Killed In Afghanistan Despite Government-Declared Truce

FILE: An Afghan National Army (ANA) exercise during a training in Helmand Province.
FILE: An Afghan National Army (ANA) exercise during a training in Helmand Province.

At least 27 people have been reported killed in several attacks across Afghanistan on the first day of a cease-fire unilaterally declared by the government.

Taliban militants on June 12 overran a district capital in the northern province of Faryab, killing at least eight people, mainly members of the Afghan security forces, local officials said.

Hundreds of militants stormed checkpoints and police headquarters across the province, including district capital Kohistan in the overnight attack, provincial council member Manan Qateh said.

Mohammad Panah, the district governor, was among those killed in the attack, according to provincial councilor Rahmatullah Turkistani.

In neighboring Sar-e Pul Province, at least 14 members of the security forces were killed and 25 were wounded in an overnight attack by Taliban fighters, provincial council member Noor Aga Noori said. Four wounded soldiers were taken hostage.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks in Faryab and Sar-e Pul provinces.

Meanwhile, in the eastern province of Ghazni five members of the security forces were killed when a suicide bomber detonated a Humvee armored vehicle packed with explosives at the gate of Moqor district center, officials said.

At least 26 people were wounded in the attack, said Arif Noori, spokesman for the Ghazni governor.

Noori blamed the Taliban for the attack, but no group has claimed responsibility so far.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced that police and troops would halt hostilities with the Taliban from June 12 until around June 20 for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that caps off the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

However, he said that operations against other groups, including the Islamic State extremist group, would continue.

The Taliban said its fighters would stop attacking Afghan security forces but only for the first three days of Eid al-Fitr, which begins at the end of this week. The militants also said they would continue attacking U.S.-led NATO troops.

Also on June 12, Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, traveled to Kabul where he was set to meet with President Ghani, Pakistani military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said.

Ghafoor tweeted that Pakistan "wishes to see a national unity government in Kabul and US/NATO succeeding to bring peace in Afghanistan."

The visit comes amid tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is accused of harboring militant groups, including the Afghan Taliban. Islamabad denies the charge.

With reporting by dpa, Reuters, AFP, and AP

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