'Islamic State' claims deadly attack on Taliban and Afghan forces in Nangarhar

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was shot by militants in 2012 as she sat on a school bus and championed girls education

MARKUS SCHREIBER AP Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was shot by militants in 2012 as she sat on a school bus and championed girls' education

"I am so happy for the cease-fire and it is sad when every day Afghans are killing each other", said Faizani, adding that 15 of his friends died in battles with Afghan security forces in one year.

The hugs and embraces were, however, marred by a suicide attack that killed 25 people, including members of the Taliban and local residents.

The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack.

A wounded man is brought by stretcher into a hospital in Jalalabad city, capital of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday after the bombing.

The Afghan Taliban have rejected calls to extend a three-day ceasefire declared for the Muslim Eid festival.

President Ashraf Ghani said he would extend a government ceasefire on Saturday and urged the Taliban to do the same, winning praise at home and worldwide backing, but critics said his overtures had allowed the Taliban to pour into cities unchecked.

"I order the security forces to remain on their defensive positions", Ghani said, adding details of the extension would be released later.

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The government's truce, which that started on June 12 and excludes the IS extremist group and Al-Qaeda, had been set to end on June 19.

Separately on Sunday, the Taliban ruled out an extension of ceasefire agreement with Afghanistan's government that is due to end in the evening. "Taliban prisoners will also be allowed to contact and see their families".

The Taliban are fighting US -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces, combined under the Resolute Support mission, and the USA -backed government to restore sharia, or Islamic law, after their ouster by USA -led forces in 2001.

"The United States is prepared to support, facilitate, and participate in these discussions", Pompeo said in a statement.

The only time direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have been held, in 2015, they broke down nearly immediately.

Washington has until now said any negotiations were exclusively for the Afghan government, but the Taliban has said it will not deal with what it calls a puppet regime. "This opportunity can not be missed".

Dozens of unarmed Taliban militants had earlier entered the Afghan capital and other cities to celebrate, coinciding with the end of the Ramadan fasting season.

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"There is no intention to extend the ceasefire", Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters.

Earlier this week Taliban leader Akhundzada said he wanted direct talks with the United States before engaging in negotiations with the Afghan government.

Video and pictures on news websites showed cheerful soldiers and Taliban hugging one another and exchanging Eid greetings in Logar province, south of Kabul, in Zabul in the south and in central Maidan Wardak.

The Taliban have steadily expanded their presence in recent years, seizing a number of districts across the country and carrying out near-daily attacks on Afghan security forces.

Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Masood Azizi said the ceasefire was being monitored throughout the country. Afghanistan also faces insurgencies from Islamic State and the Taliban-linked Haqqani network.

He also asked the Taliban to extend its ceasefire, saying that his government will provide medical and humanitarian aid to wounded members of the Taliban.

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