KABUL – A rare ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghan government appeared to hold for the third and final day on Sunday, with hundreds of militant prisoners released in a bid to bring peace talks closer.
Calm prevailed across much of Afghanistan, with officials not reporting any major clashes between the two foes since the truce began on Friday to mark the Muslim festival of Eid al-Azha.
President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban have both indicated that long-delayed negotiations could begin straight after Eid.
"This Eid feels different, parks are full with people... you almost forget that there has been a war in this country for 40 years," said Shahpoor Shadab, a resident from the eastern city of Jalalabad.
In restive Zabul province, several residents recited poems calling for the ceasefire -- only the third official halt in fighting in nearly two decades of conflict -- to be made permanent.
"Peace is everybody's need and aspiration," said Sardar Wali, who took part in the poetry session.
"This is a great opportunity to extend the ceasefire today and start intra-Afghan talks tomorrow." Under a deal signed by the Taliban and the US in February, the "intra-Afghan" talks were slated to start in March, but were delayed amid political infighting in Kabul and as a contentious prisoner swap dragged on.
The deal stipulated that Kabul would free around 5,000 Taliban prisoners in return for 1,000 Afghan security personnel held captive by the Taliban.
The National Security Council said Sunday that a further 300 Taliban prisoners had been released since Friday, taking the total number of insurgents freed so far to just over 4,900.
Authorities however have refused to free hundreds of inmates accused of serious crimes that the insurgents had requested for release.
The Taliban said they have already fulfilled their side of the exchange.
Deadly violence has rocked Afghanistan since the US-Taliban deal was agreed, with more than 3,500 Afghan troops killed in attacks by the insurgents, according to Ghani.
Pakistani rupee remained stable against US dollar in the open bank market on Friday.
On Friday, the US dollar was being quoted at 285.3 for buying and 288.15 for selling.
Euro moves down to 311 for buying and 314 for selling. British Pound rate stands at 358.5 for buying, and 361.5 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED stands at 78 whereas the Saudi Riyal rate stands at 76.20.
|UK Pound Sterling||GBP||358.5||361.5|
|Hong Kong Dollar||HKD||36.63||36.98|
|New Zealand Dollar||NZD||173.44||175.44|
KARACHI – The gold price continues to climb up in the local market in line of upward trend in international market.
On Thursday, the single tola of 24 Karat gold was available at Rs217,400, and the price for 10-gram gold reached Rs186,390.
Meanwhile, the 22 Karat Gold price stands at Rs199,282, 21 karat rate for each tola is Rs190,225 and 18k gold rate hovers around Rs163,050.
In international market, the price of precious metal hovers around $2,045 per ounce.
|Lahore||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Karachi||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Islamabad||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Peshawar||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Quetta||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Sialkot||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Attock||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Gujranwala||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Jehlum||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Multan||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Bahawalpur||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Gujrat||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Nawabshah||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Chakwal||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Hyderabad||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Nowshehra||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Sargodha||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Faisalabad||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|
|Mirpur||PKR 217,400||PKR 2,696|