Taliban militants launched an ambush Monday on three buses in northern Afghanistan, kidnapping about 150 people just a day after President Ashraf Ghani declared a conditional cease-fire ahead of Eid al-Adha.

The announcement of the cease-fire came after days of fighting between the militants and security forces in the central city of Ghazni and a northern province. The hostage incident was the latest assault by the insurgents in the area near Kunduz, which has recently fallen under Taliban control. 

Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, the head of the provincial council in Kunduz, said the attackers stopped three buses on the road near Khan Abad district and forced the passengers to leave the vehicles. He added it was believed the militants were searching for government or security force employees.

Esmatullah Muradi, a spokesman for the Kunduz governor, told Reuters the passengers were taken to "an undisclosed location." Most of the passengers — including women and children — have since been freed. Security forces are involved in a fierce clash with the militants to release the final 21.

On Sunday, Ghani declared a provisional ceasefire conditioned on the Taliban’s participation, even though fighting against the Western-backed government in Kabul and NATO coalition forces have increased.

The decision was supported by the United States, with Secretary of State Michael Pompei saying: “This plan responds to the clear and continued call of the Afghan people for peace.” 

He said the “last ceasefire in Afghanistan revealed the deep desire of the Afghan people to end the conflict, and we hope another ceasefire will move the country closer to sustainable security.”

“The United States and our international partners support this initiative by the Afghan people and the Afghan government, and we call on the Taliban to participate. It is our hope, and that of the international community, that the Afghan people may celebrate Eid al-Adha this year in peace, free from fear,” he added. 

Pompeo also stated Washington supported Ghani's offer for comprehensive negotiations on a mutually agreed agenda.‎

“We remain ready to support, facilitate, and participate in direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. There are no obstacles to talks. It is time for peace,” he said.

The Pakistan Foreign Office also released a statement welcoming Afghan government's decision in order to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. 

"Pakistan fully supports all such efforts that contribute to achieving durable stability and lasting peace in Afghanistan," Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Faisal said in a statement. 

"Coinciding with the Independence Day of Afghanistan, the announcement has an even greater significance," Faisal said, adding: "Pakistan calls upon all the parties to respect the holy tradition of sacrifice during Eid al Adha and implement a ceasefire in hostilities - preferably for a more extended period of time."

Faisal hailed the decision that he believes would allow the people of Afghanistan to celebrate the great tradition of sacrifice in comfort and peace.

While Taliban is yet to confirm their acceptance of the truce, they released a statement over the weekend saying they planned to free "hundreds of prisoners" — including members of the Afghan security forces Monday — on the occasion of Eid.

According to a Reuters report, which cited Taliban sources, the group's leaders had provisionally agreed on a four-day truce, but supreme leader Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada still had to give his final approval. 

afghan force Afghan police officers keep watch at their forward base on the outskirts of Kunduz province, Afghanistan, Nov. 26, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Nasir Wakif