Provincial Afghan govt, Taliban agree on ceasefire in Western Badghis

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KABUL (Reuters) - Government officials in a western Afghan province on Thursday said they had negotiated "an indefinite ceasefire" with Taliban to prevent further attacks on a city by the Islamist insurgents even as Afghan forces were battling to retain control.

The governor of Badghis province Husamuddin Shams told Reuters that the ceasefire was mediated by tribal elders, a move that comes after Taliban fighters secured complete control over all districts in the province.

"10 tribal elders had taken the responsibility of ceasefire, so they first talked to the Taliban, and then talked to the local government and both side reached a ceasefire," said Shams.

The Taliban reached an agreement with the tribal elders to move to the outskirts of Qala-e-Naw, the capital of Badghis.

Taliban spokesman denied they had agreed to a ceasefire but said they he left the main city of Badghis to avoid civilian casualties.

(Reporting by Orooj Hakimi, Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Writing by Rupam Jain; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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