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article imagePeace for Eid as Afghanistan observes ceasefire

By Mushtaq MOJADDIDI (AFP)     Jun 15, 2018 in World

Afghans greeted the beginning of Eid with prayers on Friday as the Muslim holiday dawned in peace for the first time since the 2001 US-led invasion, after the Taliban agreed to an unprecedented ceasefire.

Flocking to mosques for special morning worship marking the first day of the festival, youngsters in the war-battered country expressed cautious optimism, following the suspension of fighting between Afghan security forces and the militants.

Afghan Muslim men offer prayers at the start of Eid al-Fitr in Herat
Afghan Muslim men offer prayers at the start of Eid al-Fitr in Herat
HOSHANG HASHIMI, AFP

"On almost every Eid we have had attacks -- this is a rare Eid without violence," Samiullah, 17, who is almost the same age as the conflict, told AFP after prayers at the Shah-e Do Shamshira mosque in central Kabul.

"We are hopeful peace will come to Afghanistan."

Azerbaijani Muslims pray at the mosque of Tezeh Pir in Baku
Azerbaijani Muslims pray at the mosque of Tezeh Pir in Baku
Tofik BABAYEV, AFP

Fourteen-year-old Sohrab Ahmad, who earns money polishing shoes outside the mosque, said he could not remember an Eid without fighting.

"I believe there will be peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government," he said.

But not everyone was so hopeful.

Muslim women wait for the Eid-Gah  the prayer on the morning of Eid Al-Fitr at the Rasooli Masjid in...
Muslim women wait for the Eid-Gah, the prayer on the morning of Eid Al-Fitr at the Rasooli Masjid in Pretoria, South Africa.
GULSHAN KHAN, AFP

"I don't think there will be peace in Afghanistan. We are seeing an increase in attacks on a daily basis," Imran, 13, told AFP.

Defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanesh told AFP there had been no reports of Taliban attacks on Afghan forces since the start of the holiday.

Muslims offer Eid prayers on the roof of an unfinished mosque in Manila
Muslims offer Eid prayers on the roof of an unfinished mosque in Manila
NOEL CELIS, AFP

President Ashraf Ghani announced last week that police and troops would cease operations against the Taliban for eight days, starting Tuesday -- though he warned that operations against other groups, including the Islamic State group, would continue.

Libyan Muslim worshipers take a picture prior to performing Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Martyrs'...
Libyan Muslim worshipers take a picture prior to performing Eid al-Fitr prayers at the Martyrs' Square in the capital Tripoli
MAHMUD TURKIA, AFP

The Taliban said Saturday their fighters would stop attacking Afghan security forces for the first three days of Eid, the first time the Taliban had declared a nationwide ceasefire in the nearly 17-year conflict.

They said they would continue attacking US-led NATO troops.

An Iraqi boy gets a haircut to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in Baghdad
An Iraqi boy gets a haircut to celebrate Eid al-Fitr in Baghdad
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE, AFP

Muslims across the world also celebrated Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam's most significant holidays, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and is typically celebrated by feasting and gift-giving.

Muslims in the Russian republic of Tatarstan offer their Eid prayers at the Qolsarif mosque in Kazan
Muslims in the Russian republic of Tatarstan offer their Eid prayers at the Qolsarif mosque in Kazan
Saeed KHAN, AFP

In the Iraqi capital Baghdad, young people treated themselves to elaborate haircuts, in a modern interpretation of the tradition of dressing up for the festival.

Tens of millions of people across Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, celebrated Eid with special prayers at mosques and in public spaces, including a large gathering in front of the Bajra Sandhi monument on the predominantly Hindu island Bali.

Iranian Muslims perform Eid prayers in Tehran
Iranian Muslims perform Eid prayers in Tehran
ATTA KENARE, AFP

Elsewhere, hundreds of devotees -- many dressed in white and wearing skull caps -- turned out for prayers in front of the multi-domed Baiturrahman mosque in the Sumatran city of Banda Aceh.

Others knelt for morning prayers in the shadow of one of Indonesia’s most active volcano, Mount Sinabung, which has been rumbling since 2010.

Syrian children ride on a horse past destroyed buildings as they celebrate the first day of Eid
Syrian children ride on a horse past destroyed buildings as they celebrate the first day of Eid
OMAR HAJ KADOUR, AFP

In the India city of Bangalore, Afghanistan's cricketers -- thrashed by their hosts in their first-ever Test match -- sent Eid wishes back home as they arrived at the stadium in traditional attire.

Swapping their Pathani suits for cricketing whites and scarlet caps they initially made a decent start to the second day's play as "Eid Mubarak" messages were displayed on the big screen.

Kenyan Muslims take part in Eid prayers at Sir Ali Muslim Club
Kenyan Muslims take part in Eid prayers at Sir Ali Muslim Club
Yasuyoshi CHIBA, AFP

Preparations for Eid celebrations in Kashmir were soured by the murder of Shujat Bukhari, a veteran journalist, and two of his bodyguards by gunmen on a motorbike late Thursday.

Thousands gathered on Friday in Srinigar, the main city of Indian Kashmir, as funeral prayers for the 50-year-old were held at the main mosque. His body was buried in his native village.

Somali Muslim women walk along Lindo beach during the Eid celebrations at Mogadishu Peace Garden
Somali Muslim women walk along Lindo beach during the Eid celebrations at Mogadishu Peace Garden
Mohamed ABDIWAHAB, AFP

Elsewhere in India, Bollywood bad boy Salman Khan's latest probable Eid blockbuster, "Race 3", hit cinemas in Mumbai, his first movie since being convicted for shooting dead endangered antelopes.

It has become a tradition in the Hindi film industry for Khan, one of the world’s best-paid actors, to star in a big release at Eid.

Morning Eid prayers were held at the Dome of Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound  Islam's third...
Morning Eid prayers were held at the Dome of Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third most holy site, in the Old City of Jerusalem
AHMAD GHARABLI, AFP

And around 50 million people were thought to be on the move in Bangladesh, heading back to their home villages for the celebrations, as they crammed on the roofs of buses and trains.

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