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Taliban Blamed for Deadly Attack Following Eid Ceasefire

Seven Afghan soldiers were reportedly killed in a Taliban-attributed attack in the northern Parwan Province, in the first deadly incident since the end of a three-day ceasefire for the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Kabul had called on the Taliban to extend the truce so that long-elusive peace talks aimed at ending the conflict could begin. During the ceasefire, Afghan authorities released about 1,000 Taliban prisoners in a confidence-building measure. The Taliban was, in turn, supposed to release about 50 members of the Afghan security forces being held captive. The exchange is part of a February 29 US-Taliban agreement that also called for Washington to reduce its military presence in Afghanistan from about 13,000 to 8,600 troops by mid-July – a target reached ahead of schedule earlier this week – before a complete withdrawal by May 2021.