As the ceasefire continued to hold between the Afghan government and Taliban, hundreds of Taliban members arrived in cities, district centers and provincial capitals to celebrate Eid with the people and security forces.
Hundreds of Taliban members joined the people and security forces on Saturday, the second day of Eid-al-Fitr, while in some provinces they celebrated the first day of Eid with the people and Afghan soldiers.
Taliban members, security forces and the Afghan people said they were very happy about the ceasefire and urged both sides to extend the truce and pave the way for permanent peace in the country.
The unilateral ceasefire by President Ashraf Ghani was announced on June 7 after a meeting of religions scholars in Kabul who issued a fatwa against the ongoing war in the country.
Ghani’s ceasefire started on the 27th of Ramadan (June 12) and will run through to the fifth day of Eid-al-Fitr (June 19).
Two days after Ghani announced the ceasefire, Taliban, issued a statement and ordered its fighters not to clash with the Afghan security forces for the first three days of Eid.
The ceasefires were warmly welcomed around the country by the people and security forces.
Afghanistan’s international partners also welcomed the ceasefire and said they hoped it would lead both sides to permanent peace.
On Friday and Saturday hundreds of Taliban members appeared among members of the public in a number of provinces and districts, as well as in Kabul.
Dozens of Taliban members on Saturday came to Kabul city from Maidan Wardak and Logar provinces.
TOLOnews journalists met with the Taliban members and people in parts of the city and reported that the atmosphere had been jovial.
Kabul police said Taliban members handed in their weapons and ammunition belts before entering the city. However, footage shows that in a few parts of the city, Taliban were carrying their weapons.
Residents meanwhile said they were very happy about seeing the waring parties hugging each other.
“I cried of happiness. I was crying of happiness that finally peace will come,” Abdullah, a resident of Kabul said.
“I am very happy, because they (Taliban) are our brothers,” Maroof, another resident said.
In another part of the city, Afghan interior minister Wais Ahmad Barmak greeted the Taliban and wished them a happy Eid.
At Arghandi Gate, a gate entering Kabul city, Taliban handed in their weapons to security forces before entering the city.
“I hope that Inshallah peace will remain in Afghanistan and an Islamic government will come in to power across the world,” Hasibullah, a Taliban member said.
In Kabul’s Koti Sangi area security forces however arrested a Taliban member who was carrying a weapon.
“Based on the President’s order, the Taliban are allowed to enter Kabul up to tomorrow but need to hand their weapons to us,” Jawad, an army soldier said.
“Believe me I have never been so happy as I was about the ceasefire,” Ahmad, a resident of Kabul said.
Although the residents of Kabul welcomed the move they urged security forces not to let Taliban members carry their weapons in the city.
Zabul provincial council members said 700 Taliban members on Saturday arrived in Qalat city, the provincial capital, and celebrated Eid along with the security forces and the residents.
According to the council members, Taliban greeted and hugged security forces in the city to celebrate Eid.
Local people, Taliban and security forces happily celebrated the second day of Eid and took selfies with each other.
“Around 700 Taliban have come to Qalat city. In districts they conducted Eid prayers together with the police chiefs and district governors,” Zabul provincial council head Atta Jan Haqbayan said.
Meanwhile, a number of Taliban said they hope that the Taliban leadership team and government leaders provide a situation for permanent peace.
“I hope that the ceasefire gets extended in the country,” a Taliban member said.
“I want peace and stability to come in the country,” another Taliban member said.
Residents of Zabul province said they were happy to see the Taliban and security forces celebrate Eid together.
“Now we have hope that we never had in the past 21 years,” Ahmadullah, a resident of Zabul said.
In Nangarhar, a large number of Taliban arrived in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital, and in the district centers and met with their relatives and security forces.
TOLOnews journalist Ziar Yaad reported from the area and said the Taliban arrived with their white flag and celebrated Eid with the security forces and people.
Yaad said the Taliban said they want the temporary ceasefire to become permanent.
“They (security forces) are all our brothers. Our only aim is to remove the foreign troops and make them leave our country,” Bilal, a member of the Taliban said.
“We want all the parties to extend the ceasefire,” Obaidullah, a resident of Nangarhar said.
“This is what people have been hoping for in the past 40 years,” Farid, another resident said.
In Laghman province dozens of Taliban members gathered at a mosque in Pul-e-Alma city, the provincial capital, and celebrated Eid.
They all said they hope for a peaceful future.
In Kunduz province, the Taliban were warmly welcomed by the people.
People gathered on the streets to welcome the Taliban and together they celebrated Eid.
Taliban in Kunduz said they want the foreign troops to leave the country and they will only end their war with the Afghan forces once this has happened.
“We want the infidels to leave our country and the Afghan forces such as army, police and public protection forces make peace with us,” Hamza, a Taliban member said.
Civilians said they are very happy that the Taliban and security forces were celebrating Eid together.
“Taliban brothers have come and the army brothers are also here. All the brothers have come together,” a Kunduz resident said.
“I cannot show them inside my heart - how I feel. Only Allah knows what I feel about peace,” Rahim, a member of the Taliban said.