Kabul, Feb 23 (IANS) There were eight clashes between the Taliban and Afghan security forces reported on the first day after the week-long seven-day “reduction in violence” pact came into effect in the war-torn country, the media reported.
The clashes were reported on Saturday in Faryab, Uruzgan, Paktia, Balkh, Baghlan, Badghis, Helmand and Kapisa provinces, TOLO News reported.
Reacting to the reports of the clashes, Acting Minister of Defense Assadullah Khalid said: “Violence has declined significantly. Only a few minor attacks were reported in some areas that are not serious.”
Meanwhile, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the areas which fall under the pact were “centres of all provinces, all corps (Afghan military corps), units, divisions (Afghan army divisions) and all foreign bases”.
Any shelling and attacks in the areas which does not fall under the agreement, “shouldn’t be taken as a violation, because this is not a nationwide ceasefire”, he said in a Twitter post.
On Saturday at 12 a.m., the reduction in violence pact came into force that is intended to last for seven days, reports TOLO News.
Upon its successful completion, according to statements by the US and Taliban, a peace deal negotiated between the two sides over the past 18 months in Doha, will be signed on February 29.
The expectation is that this signed agreement will lead to intra-Aghan talks between the Taliban on one side, and a delegation representing the Afghan republic’s government and political and civil establishment, on the other.