MOSCOW, June 8 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday called on the Taliban insurgent group to respond positively to a ceasefire initiative proposed by the Afghan authorities.
The Afghan government has announced an eight-day ceasefire with the Taliban from the 27 of Ramadan (fasting month) on June 12 to June 19, the fifth day of the second largest annual religious festival Eid-ul-Fitr, the country's state-run RTA TV reported on Thursday.
"We urge the Taliban to react positively to this initiative. This decision would be a step towards peace, would allow the Afghans to celebrate the holiday without fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones," a statement issued by the foreign ministry said.
It reaffirmed support for efforts aimed at facilitating peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban for the sake of achieving national reconciliation and ending the civil war, the statement said.
The Taliban militants, who ruled Afghanistan before being ousted in late 2001, have been waging an insurgency of more than 17 years.