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More than 100 people are reported to have been kidnapped after Taliban militants launched an ambush on three buses in northern Afghanistan.

He said the ceasefire would start on Monday and end on November 19 - which is three months.

According to Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, the head of the provincial council in Kunduz, the attackers stopped three buses on the road near Khan Abad district and forced the passengers to come with them.

A cease-fire during a major Muslim holiday in June brought a rare respite from the violence in most areas and saw Taliban fighters celebrate in the streets alongside security forces and civilians.

"The United States and our global partners support this initiative by the Afghan people and the Afghan government, and we call on the Taliban to participate".

Ghani's announcement was also swiftly welcomed in neighbouring Pakistan, which has always been accused of fostering links with the Taliban's leadership and providing sanctuary to its fighters.

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Abdul Rahman Aqtash, the police chief in neighbouring Takhar province, said the passengers were from Badakhshan and Takhar provinces and were traveling to the capital, Kabul. Taliban sources confirmed that their leaders had provisionally agreed a four-day truce but said that their leader, Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada, still had to give his final approval.

The Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in 2014. Some analysts said it might be perceived as an act of desperation by the government following mounting battlefield pressure from insurgents.

Large-scale bombings and attacks by the Taliban have killed scores of people.

Ghani's call for the truce, made during celebrations Sunday of the 99th anniversary of Afghanistan's independence, said "the cease-fire should be observed from both sides, and its continuation and duration also depend on the Taliban's stand".

"It is our hope, and that of the worldwide community, that the Afghan people may celebrate Eid al-Adha this year in peace, free from fear", he added, referring to the Islamic holiday that starts next week. The Taliban has reasserted itself this month with a wave of deadly attacks that have killed hundreds, providing it with additional leverage ahead of nascent peace talks.


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