Fighting resumes in southern Afghanistan as ceasefire ends

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN (AFP) – Fighting between the Taleban and Afghan government forces resumed on Sunday (May 16) in the restive southern province of Helmand, officials said, ending a three-day ceasefire agreed by the warring sides to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

There were clashes on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand, which has seen intense fighting since the United States began its final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1, an Afghan military spokesman and a local official said.

“The fighting started early today morning and is still ongoing,” Mr Attaullah Afghan, the head of the Helmand provincial council, told AFP.

He said Taleban fighters attacked security checkpoints on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah and other districts.

An Afghan army spokesman in the south confirmed fighting had resumed.

The three-day truce initiated by the Taleban and swiftly agreed to by the Afghan government had largely held during the Eid holidays that ended last night.

At least 12 people were killed at a mosque outside Kabul, however, by a bomb blast claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.

Before the ceasefire, violence had surged in several provinces of Afghanistan, including former insurgent bastions Helmand and Kandahar.

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