The Afghan Taliban on Saturday announced a surprise three-day ceasefire over the Muslim Eid holiday in the middle of June, their first offer of its kind, days after the government declared an unconditional ceasefire of its own.
The Afghan government says the ceasefire will last for a week and will exclude Daesh and other terror groups.
The UN secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said he hoped the ceasefires would "serve as a stepping stone" towards peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
But it added that 'if the mujahideen are attacked we will strongly defend (ourselves)'.
But Nicholson said his troops would not hesitate to respond if the Taliban broke the ceasefire. In the Zawol district of western Herat province, the governor's spokesman said 18 members of the Afghan army and police were killed in an overnight ambush Friday.
Conversations with diplomats and senior officials in Kabul suggest that the unilateral cease-fire announced by the government had not been coordinated with the Taliban or the outcome of a broader, cohesive peace effort.
The clerics were themselves targeted in a suicide attack claimed by IS, which killed 14 people at the entrance to their peace tent in Kabul.
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"Should the Taliban take full advantage of the ceasefire in the best interests of the Afghan people, then numerous surveillance assets we have overhead could be re-oriented to ISIS, AQ and other foreign terrorists", he told reporters at the meeting in Brussels. It is underpinned both by the heavy daily toll of the long war on ordinary Afghans and U.S. President Donald Trump's limited patience for the costly U.S. involvement here.
It will see a three-day halt in hostilities against the country's security forces, which has been greeted with relief by war-weary Afghans.
In its statement, the Afghan Taliban said it would allow prisoners to visit with families and asked for the group's regional leaders to commute some prisoners' sentences.
Jarett Blanc, a former United States diplomat who was involved in earlier efforts to start a peace process with the Taliban, said the cease-fire provides an opportunity for both sides to demonstrate control over their armed forces.
Laurel Miller, who served as a senior US official for Afghanistan and Pakistan under both Obama and Trump, said that while any action to reduce violence was positive, the differing terms and timelines for the two parties' cease-fires made the current circumstance a fragile one.
Earlier this week, the USA military said it would observe the government cease-fire with the Taliban while continuing its activities against the Islamic State.
Amani said that seven other forces were wounded in the attack late Frday night near Sari Pul city.