CATCH YOUR BREATH

Afghan President Declares Temporary Cease-Fire With Taliban

The president of Afghanistan has announced a weeklong cease-fire with the Taliban, and the U.S. has confirmed it will honor the arrangement. Speaking in a televised address, Ashraf Ghani said local forces would halt operations against the insurgent group beginning June 12—it is the first time an Afghan leader has declared a cease-fire with the Taliban since the war began in 2001. “This cease-fire is an opportunity for Taliban to reflect on the fact that their violent campaign is not winning them hearts and minds but further alienating the Afghan people from their cause,” said Ghani. Gen. John Nicholson, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Resolute Support commander, said: “We will adhere to the wishes of Afghanistan for the country to enjoy a peaceful end to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and support the search for an end to the conflict.” The cease-fire will not include U.S. counterterrorism efforts against ISIS, al Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups.