Taliban says it will observe 3-day cease-fire in Afghanistan for Eid holiday

Burial of bombing victim near Kabul, Afghanistan
Afghan men Sunday bury a victim of deadly bombings at a cemetery west of Kabul.
(Mariam Zuhaib / Associated Press)

The Taliban on Monday announced a three-day cease-fire in Afghanistan for this week’s Eid-al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The cease-fire would begin either Wednesday or Thursday. The Muslim calendar follows lunar cycles and the Eid holiday depends on the sighting of the new moon.

Just hours after the pending cease-fire was announced, a bus in southern Zabul province struck a roadside mine, killing 11 people, Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said. At least 24 more people on the bus were injured. Improvised explosive devices litter the countryside and have been used extensively by the Taliban.


Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said Taliban fighters had been ordered to stop all offensives for Eid “to provide a peaceful and secure atmosphere to our compatriots ... so that they may celebrate this joyous occasion with a greater peace of mind.”

The cease-fire announcement comes amid heightened violence in the country and follows a brutal attack on a girls’ school Saturday that killed as many 60 people, most of them students between 11 and 15 years old. The death toll from the three explosions continues to climb.

The Taliban denied any responsibility and condemned the attack, which occurred in the mostly Shiite neighborhood of Dasht-e-Barchi in the west of Kabul, the capital.

As U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, efforts against a diminished Al Qaeda are in flux. Officials say the terrorist group could threaten the U.S. again.

April 30, 2021

Attacks in the area are most often claimed by the Afghan Islamic State affiliate, but no group yet has claimed the attack on the school.

The cease-fire announcement also comes as the U.S. and NATO withdraw the last of their military forces. The last 2,500 to 3,500 American soldiers and roughly 7,000 allied NATO forces are scheduled to leave by Sept. 11 at the latest.

The Afghan government has not yet responded to the cease-fire announcement.