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Taliban kill Afghan district governor despite truce

Intense clashes reported between Afghan security forces and the Taliban despite the start of a government ceasefire.

Taliban fighters have killed a district governor in northern Afghanistan while clashes are ongoing elsewhere, despite the start of a government ceasefire, officials said.

The governor of Kohistan district in Faryab was killed along with eight others in an ambush overnight, provincial governor spokesman Javed Bedar confirmed.

Bedar said that Taliban had successfully pushed into the district's centre.

"If the Taliban attack us, we need to defend ourselves," he said.

"The battle is ongoing as we have asked for immediate reinforcements."

Intense fighting was also reported between Afghan security forces and the Taliban in the northern provinces of Faryab and Sari Pul, with officials reporting an unspecified number of casualties on both sides.

The Taliban claimed the Faryab attack as well as one in Sayad district of neighbouring Sari Pul, where provincial governor's spokesman Zabiullah Amani said fighting was still under way.

The attacks follow Taliban announcement on Saturday that their fighters would stop attacking Afghan security forces for the first three days of Eid, the holiday that ends the holy month of Ramadan, which begins later this week.

The Taliban announcement followed an offer of a ceasefire from the government, which, according to interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish, went into effect on Tuesday.

In February, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani proposed a ceasefire and a release of prisoners among a range of options including new elections involving the armed group, and a constitutional review in a pact with the Taliban to end a conflict that last year alone killed or wounded more than 10,000 Afghan civilians.

Taliban has been fighting in Afghanistan since it was removed from power in 2001 by the US-led forces. The armed group has set the withdrawal of foreign forces as a pre-condition for peace talks.


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