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REUTERS
February 15, 2018

Afghan Taliban say they want to solve war through dialogue

World

REUTERS
February 15, 2018

KABUL: The Taliban said on Wednesday they want to end Afghanistan’s war through dialogue but warned that their willingness to find peace did not mean they were exhausted and that their armed campaign would be sustained no matter how powerful the US opposition.

A more aggressive US strategy in Afghanistan including a surge in air strikes introduced by President Donald Trump in August has pushed the Taliban back from several district centres and two provincial capitals.

“Our preference is to solve the Afghan issue through peaceful dialogue,” the Taliban said. In their statement, the Taliban did not mention a Jan. 27 raid on a top Kabul hotel, in which more than 30 people were killed, nor a bomb attack on a crowded street a week later that killed more than 100. They claimed both attacks.

The Taliban, fighting to oust foreign forces and defeat the US-backed government, said the United States must end its “occupation” and accept the Taliban right to form a government “consistent with the beliefs of our people”.

The militants only mentioned the Afghan government to deride it on various grounds.A government spokesman declined to comment on the statement and a spokesman for Afghanistan’s NATO-led military mission was not immediately available for comment.

It was not too late for the American people to realise the Taliban can solve problems with every side “through healthy politics and dialogue”, the militants said, adding the chances for dialogue were “not exhausted”.

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