BRUSSELS, June 16 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU)'s top diplomat on Saturday hailed a "historic" ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban militants during an important Muslim festival, depicting it as a much-needed respite for the war-torn country.
"The historic ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban during Eid al-Fitr has given the Afghan people a much-needed respite from 17 years of conflict," Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief, said in a statement.
Mogherini paid tribute to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's decision to extend the ceasefire and called on the Taliban to reciprocate.
She underscored that the overwhelming support for the ceasefire, evidenced by "government officials, soldiers, Taliban exchanging Eid greetings and attending prayers together", has "given all a sense of what peace could look like."
Earlier on Saturday, in a surprise move, hundreds of Taliban fighters entered big Afghan cities to celebrate the Eid holidays with Afghan security forces.
It's an encouraging sign of reconciliation after the Afghan government and the Taliban nodded at a ceasefire during the Eid al-Fitr, the annual religious festival marking the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting.
About one week ago, the Afghan government announced a seven-day ceasefire to encourage Taliban outfit to support the national reconciliation process.
Reciprocating the step, the armed Taliban group announced a three-day truce starting from the first day of Eid al-Fitr.
The Afghan president on Saturday decided to extend the ceasefire for an unknown period of time.
However, the ceasefire was shadowed by an attack in Afghanistan's eastern province of Nangarhar on Saturday.
At least 26 people were killed and 30 others wounded in a blast in a crowd celebrating the ceasefire on the outskirts of provincial capital Jalalabad city.
The Islamic State (IS)-linked "Amaq" news website has claimed in an online statement that an IS fighter launched the attack.