Aaj TV

KABUL: An Afghan official said Thursday a ceasefire had been negotiated with local Taliban leaders in a western province that had come under assault by the militants in their sweeping campaign across the countryside.

Badghis governor Hesamuddin Shams said no time frame had been set for a truce, which comes after the Taliban last week stormed the provincial capital Qala-i-Naw -- their first major attack on a city since US-led foreign forces began their final withdrawal from the country in early May.

"The ceasefire between Afghan security forces and the Taliban began at around 10:00 am today. The ceasefire was brokered by tribal elders," Shams told AFP.

After taking hold of the rest of the province, Taliban militants swooped on Qala-i-Naw, where Afghan forces and Taliban fighters engaged in street battles.

Afghan forces, which have been facing a crisis in the country, later said they had flushed the militants out of the city.

The Taliban have captured scores of districts across the rugged countryside, as well as key border crossings with neighbouring countries, choking off revenues much needed by Kabul while also filling their own coffers.

On Wednesday, they captured the border crossing of Spin Boldak raising their flag above the town.

Nader Nadery, the spokesman for the government's negotiating team in Doha where peace talks with the Taliban have been stalled for months, said the Taliban have offered a three-month ceasefire in return for thousands of prisoners being released.

However, he later said that no formal proposal had been made.

Peace talks launched in Qatar last year have so far failed to reach any political settlement, and the latest offensives suggest the insurgents are now set on a military victory.