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U.S. General Says Afghan Military Operations Against IS Will Intensify During Cease-Fire

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (C) poses with Afghan Defense Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami and U.S. General John Nicholson during a NATO defense ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels on June 8.

The top U.S. general in Afghanistan said military operations against Islamic State (IS) militants will intensify during a temporary cease-fire announced by the Afghan government.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on June 7 announced for the first time a unilateral cease-fire with the Taliban and the allied Haqqani network, coinciding with the end of the Muslim fasting month.

The truce -- which will last from June 12 until around June 20 -- excludes other militant groups such as IS.

Operations against IS "will continue, in fact will be even intensified during this period of cease-fire as we focus on [IS]," General John Nicholson told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

U.S. counterterrorism forces are engaged in operations in the eastern province of Nangarhar, a stronghold of IS militants.

Nangarhar Province, on the border with Pakistan, has seen growing violence this year.

On May 18, IS militants claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a cricket stadium in the provincial capital, Jalalabad, that killed eight people and wounded 45.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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