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Iran hails extension of ceasefire in Afghanistan

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has welcomed the extension of a ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban, calling on the sides to respect the truce in order to establish stability and peace in the war-stricken country.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced on Saturday an extension of the government's week-long ceasefire with the Taliban, as both sides observed a halt in hostilities on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr Muslim holidays.

In a televised address to the nation, Ghani also asked the Taliban to extend their three-day ceasefire which is due to end Sunday.

The Iranian spokesperson on Sunday expressed hope that the continuation of the ceasefire would prepare the ground for a new and modern beginning of peace talks and the restoration of stability and peace to Afghanistan.

Terrorists targeting Afghan security: Qassemi

Qassemi also on Saturday strongly condemned a terrorist attack in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar and said, "Terrorists and ill-wishers of the Afghan nation are targeting stability and security of this country."

He added that the Afghan nation's ill-wishers believe that efforts to establish stability and peace in the war-hit country, including the recent ceasefire between the government and the Taliban, are not in line with their own interests.

They did not accept the implementation of the ceasefire and carried out another atrocity to prove that their survival hinges on crimes and conflicts, Qassemi pointed out.

At least 26 people lost their lives in an explosion that hit a gathering of the Taliban and Afghan security officials in Nangarhar on Saturday as the two sides were marking their unprecedented three-day ceasefire on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr Muslim holidays.

The reason for the explosion in the restive district of Bati Kot is still unknown. Civilians and Taliban forces were reportedly among the casualties.

The Daesh terrorist group said it carried out the bombing targeting Taliban and Afghan forces but gave no details.

The Iranian spokesman said the Afghan government and people would soon be able to defeat terrorist elements, who are disturbing unity, stability and security, adding that the Afghans would enjoy the outcomes of their patience and resistance.

On June 9, the Taliban announced in a statement that it had agreed to the truce deal proposed by the Afghan government.

The Taliban said foreign forces would be excluded from the ceasefire and operations would continue against them, adding that they would "strongly defend" themselves against any attack.

The Taliban themselves, however, announced a truce of their own starting on Friday.

Ghani's Truce offer came a few days after over 2,000 Afghan religious scholars issued a fatwa (religious decree) outlawing bombings and demanding that the Taliban accept the government's peace offer in order to prevent further bloodshed.

The Taliban's five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an end when the US and its allies invaded the country on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror.

The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but, ever since, the group has been involved in widespread militancy, killing thousands of civilians as well as Afghan security forces and displacing tens of thousands of people across the country.

More recently, Daesh has also taken advantage of the chaos and established a foothold in eastern and northern Afghanistan.

The Takfiri outfit has stepped up its terror attacks in the war-torn country after losing its bases in Iraq and Syria despite the presence of thousands of US-led foreign troops on Afghan soil.

In a meeting with his Afghan counterpart on June 9, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said a secure and stable Afghanistan is essential to regional security and development, emphasizing that the Islamic Republic will spare no effort to promote lasting peace in the war-ravaged country.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready and will spare no effort to help establish sustainable peace and fight terrorism in Afghanistan," Rouhani told Ghani during the meeting held on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Chinese port city of Qingdao.

Source: Press TV