The US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has hit a responsive chord with his ceasefire initiative as he expressed optimisms regarding the future of negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban.

Speaking with the reporters at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, ahead of his trip to Asia, Mattis said he sees encouraging signs for substantive talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban after 17 years of war.

Pointing to the Taliban’s acceptance of a three-day cease-fire offered recently by President Ghani, Mattis said “Clearly Ghani has hit a responsive chord.”

Mattis further added that “Not just on the Afghan national government side, but also it cut deep into the Taliban. We’ll see how this goes forward.”

The Defense Secretary also added that he was encouraged by the way many Taliban fighters joined with government security forces and civilians to break their fast on the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday, even though the Taliban turned down a chance to extend the truce.

This comes as the Afghan government announced at the third day of Eid Al-Fitr that the ceasefire with the Taliban will be extended for another ten days.

However, the Taliban group issued a statement saying that the truce has ended and announced the resumption of the attacks.


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