Afghan govt urges Taliban to extend ceasefire Aug 03, 2020 0 461 12345 AFPKabulThe Afghan government on Sunday urged the Taliban to extend a rare ceasefire hours before it was due to end, as a contentious prisoner swap between the two warring sides edged closer to completion. Officials said there were no reports of fighting between the enemies across much of Afghanistan during the three day truce that marked the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.However, the calm was broken Sunday evening when gunmen stormed a prison in Jalalabad in the east of the country, leaving at least three people dead. The Taliban denied involvement in the assault.President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban have both previously indicated that long-delayed peace talks could begin straight after Eid.“We hope the Taliban will not resume violence,” said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman to Ghani.“The Afghan government’s actions and steps taken in the peace process must be reciprocated by the Taliban.”The National Security Council said Sunday that a further 300 Taliban prisoners had been released since Friday, taking the total number freed so far to just over 4,900.The Taliban say they have already fulfilled their commitment.The rare respite from violence gave some Afghans the opportunity to safely visit relatives for Eid celebrations after long periods apart.“I managed to visit my village for the first time in two years,” said Khalil Ahmad from volatile Uruzgan province, a hotbed for insurgents. “There were many Taliban check posts on the way, but they did not bother anyone.”Shahpoor Shadab, a resident from the eastern city of Jalalabad, told AFP that “Eid feels different, parks are full with people”.“You almost forget that there has been a war in this country for 40 years.”Kabul resident Fawad Babak, a shopkeeper, was sad that it was the last day of the ceasefire.“I’m a little disheartened... the killing and bloodshed may resume again tomorrow,” he said.In restive Zabul province, several residents recited poems calling for the ceasefire -- only the third official halt in fighting in nearly two decades of conflict -- to be made permanent. “Peace is everybody’s need and aspiration,” said Sardar Wali, who took part in the poetry session.“This is a great opportunity to extend the ceasefire today and start intra-Afghan talks tomorrow.” Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Philippines’ COVID-19 cases surge to over 100,000 Aug 03, 2020 0 1358 Virus curfew imposed in Melbourne as S Africa tops 500,000 cases Aug 03, 2020 0 414 Pakistan’s daily virus death toll falls to single digits Aug 03, 2020 0 406 Syria condemns deal between Kurds and US firm as ‘theft’ AFP Damascus Syria on Sunday condemned an agreement between Kurdish-led forces in the country’s northeast and a US oil company, describing it as “theft” and an “affront to national sovereignty”. The foreign ministry .. Ethiopians celebrate first filling of controversial Nile dam DPA Addis Ababa Ethiopians celebrated the first filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Sunday, flooding the streets of the capital Addis Ababa in support of the often controversial project on the Blue Nile .. Iran reports highest virus cases for nearly a month Tehran Iran on Sunday reported its highest single-day novel coronavirus infection count in nearly a month, warning that most of its provinces have been hit by a resurgence of the disease. The Islamic republic has been .. Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan recovers from coronavirus DPA New Delhi Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has been discharged from a Mumbai hospital where he was treated for COVID-19 during a 23-day stay, his son said on Sunday. Meanwhile, India’s federal home minister Amit .. Sudan welcomes Pompeo comments on ending terror listing AFP Khartoum Sudan’s government has welcomed remarks from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week that he would like to delist Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, local media reported. Pompeo has repeatedly ..