The Taliban tightens its grip in many districts and cities in northern Afghanistan as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani calls on local militias to fight the armed group. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby says that the United States is willing to continue their airstrike campaign against the Taliban but warned that "it is up to the Afghan government to defend themselves" and also added that "it is their struggle".
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen says that the Islamist group "does not want to monopolize" Afghanistan, pointing to past failed attempts by countries to do so. Shaheen also says that women's rights under the Taliban would now be respected, although women would still need to wear a headscarf or hijab and have a male relative as a companion in order to leave their house. Shaheen also accused President Ashraf Ghani of being a "warmonger" and said that "no one wants a civil war in Afghanistan".
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry reveals that it on August 18 placed financial sanctions on dozens of Taliban members, including chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and deputy head and Haqqani network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani. The sanctions were placed to avoid placing the country on the Financial Action Task Force blacklist.
A day after the "loya jirga" approved of the release of "hardcore" Taliban prisoners, President Ashraf Ghani signs the order to release them. Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen says the Taliban "is ready" for talks. U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad welcomed the agreement.
The government and the Taliban begin a three-day truce to start intra-Afghan talks. Early today, President Ashraf Ghani ordered the release of 500 Taliban prisoners to "show goodwill" to start the talks.
A truck bomb explodes near a court in Gardez, Paktia, Afghanistan, killing five civilians. The Taliban claims responsibility, calling it a retaliation to statements by President Ashraf Ghani blaming the group for an attack on a maternity hospital two days ago.
The Taliban announce a three-day Eid ceasefire with the Afghan authorities, according to Pajhwok Afghan News. On Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani announced a ceasefire with the Taliban from June 12–19.