Afghan govt. reaches truce with local Taliban
Ahead of the crucial presidential polls, the Afghan government has made a truce with the Taliban in Badghis Province and announced a ceasefire, reported PressTV.
After nearly three weeks of talks, the deal was ultimately reached with the intervention of tribal elders of a small part of the northwestern Province of Badghis, where insurgent attacks have soared and thousands more troops have poured in to establish security for the August 20 election.
"Since Saturday, a ceasefire has been established in Bala Murghab district of Badghis Province through the efforts and mediation of elders and influential people of the province," a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday.
Siamak Herawi said negotiations lasted 20 days and resulted in both sides signing a ceasefire document Saturday that saw the militants pull out of three areas of the troubled district.
"This is a model that other provinces and areas are also trying to use," he claimed.
The deal, a first time for Afghanistan, puts local leaders in charge and would allow authorities to set up election offices and candidates on the presidential and provincial council ballots to begin campaigning, he said.
There are 41 candidates standing for president, including incumbent Hamid Karzai and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah.