Taliban bans fighters from visiting government-held areas

Kabul: The Taliban on Sunday ordered its fighters not to visit areas controlled by the Afghan government, a day after an attack by the Islamic State terror group against a gathering of insurgents and civilians left 25 dead.

The attack cast a shadow over the rapprochement between the Taliban and the Army after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a unilateral truce, which was followed two days later by the announcement of a three-day ceasefire by the Taliban marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, reports Efe news.

“Yesterday, a mysterious explosion took place at a park in Rodato district of Nangarhar province resulting in a number of countrymen embracing martyrdom and sustaining injuries,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

“In order to prevent such events from re-occurring, the Islamic Emirate (the Taliban) orders all its Mujahideen to remain in their trenches and areas of control and to not venture into enemy controlled areas or cities even briefly.”

Since Friday, for the first time in 17 years of conflict, Taliban fighters and security force members had been praying together in the same mosques in different parts of the country, visiting areas controlled by the opposite side and even had photos taken that showed them hugging each other.

A large number of insurgents entered Kabul on Saturday with the government’s permission after leaving behind their weapons with the security forces and were welcomed by Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak near the western entrance to the capital.

The joy was cut short by an attack by the Islamic State in Nangarhar province, where the Taliban and civilians had gathered to celebrate the ceasefire, which caused 25 deaths and left 54 wounded.