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Afghanistan three-day ceasefire ends

·2-min read

A three-day ceasefire marked by violent attacks - most claimed by the Islamic State group - has ended in Afghanistan amid calls for renewed peace talks between the government and Taliban.

Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen on Sunday said the negotiating teams of the government and the Islamic Emirate, as the Taliban refer to their ousted regime, met briefly on Saturday in the Middle Eastern State of Qatar.

They renewed their commitment to finding a peaceful end to the war and called for an early start to talks that have been stalled, he said.

The US has been pressing for accelerated talks as it withdraws the last of its 2500-3500 soldiers and NATO its remaining 7000 allied forces.

Even as the Taliban and government signed on to the ceasefire, which was declared to mark the Islamic holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, violence continued unabated in Afghanistan.

A bombing on Friday in a mosque north of the capital killed 12 worshippers, including the prayer leader. Another 15 people were wounded. The Taliban denied involvement and blamed the government intelligence agency.

In a statement on Sunday, the IS affiliate took responsibility for the mosque attack, saying its fighters planted an explosive device in "a worship place for disbelievers Sufis," killing the "apostate Imam," or prayer leader. The statement claimed 40 worshippers were wounded.

The IS also claimed it blew up several electrical grid stations over the weekend. That left the capital Kabul in the dark for much of the three-day holiday that followed the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The attacks have left nine provinces including Kabul with disrupted power supplies, said Sanger Niazai, a government spokesman. There was also concern that local warlords, demanding protection money from the government to safeguard stations in areas they control, may have been behind some of the destruction.

At least one local warlord was arrested last year after demanding protection money.