After Afghan bomb attack on school, Taliban declares three-day ceasefire for Eid

The US has announced withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan before the anniversary of 9/11 attack

Afghans hold funeral for victims of Kabul school bomb blasts

The Taliban on Monday announced a three-day ceasefire for the Eid holiday following a bomb attack on a girls’ school on the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul killed at least 85 people.

On Saturday, a bomb attack in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood in the west of Kabul led to the scores of deaths as well as leaving 147 injured, reported Afghanistan Times. Most of those killed in the attack on the school were students of age between 11-15 years.

The attack came just days after the US announced it wanted to pull all of its troops out of the country by September 11 after nearly 20 years of operations that were launched following the 9/11 attack on America, raising further fears over Afghanistan’s security situation.

The Taliban has denied any responsibility for the attack and condemned it and announced a ceasefire for Eid, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Spokesperson Suhail Shaheen, said Taliban fighters have been ordered to stop all offensives, “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 ceasefire may start from Wednesday or Thursday because the Muslim calendar follows lunar cycles and the Eid holiday depends on the sighting of the new moon.

While the ceasefire is yet to come into effect, Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said a bus in southern Zabul province struck a roadside mine killing 11 people and causing injuries to over 20.

The Afghan government is yet to respond to the ceasefire announcement.

On Monday, Afghanistan’s defence ministry informed that over 150 terrorists were killed in their operations.

“158 #Taliban terrorists were killed and 37 others were wounded in Ghazni, Kandahar, Urzgan, Herat, Farah, Ghur, Jawzjan, Helmand, Takhar, Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces as result of #ANDSF operations during 24 past hours,” the ministry tweeted.

On Sunday, after the attack, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission called for a ceasefire and also for detailed measures that go beyond verbal condemnation.

It said that the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Children and Armed Conflict should immediately outline the concrete, practical steps, the UN will take to ensure targeting of schools, tutoring centres and universities never repeats.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) condemned the attack and said “it underlines the perpetual threat to women in Afghanistan”.

Pope Francis called the bomb attack on the school an “inhuman act”.

“Let us pray for the victims of the terrorist attack that took place yesterday in Kabul: an inhuman act that affected many young girls as they left school. Let us pray for every one of them and for their families. And may God grant peace to Afghanistan,” he tweeted.

On Monday, the European Union foreign ministers debated ways to maintain support for Afghanistan’s government over concerns that violence may spread once the US leaves the Asian country.

Additional reporting by agencies

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