COAS arrives in Kabul to attend Chief of Defence Conference

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In a rare statement to the American people, the Taliban in Afghanistan said they wanted to end the country's 17-year war through talks, while warning the message should not be seen as a sign of weakness and the fight against U.S. forces would go on.

Afghan officials are carrying out at least two tracks of talks with the Taliban, it has been learned, even after a month of brutal bombings and attacks by the militants that killed almost 200 and despite US President Donald Trump's angry rejection of any negotiations for now.

The attacks have toughened both the USA and Afghan government stand on trying to initiate talks to end almost 17 years of war that neither side seems capable of winning. The problem, however, is that neither is talking to the other or to the High Peace Council, which was created by the government to talk peace with the Taliban, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the contacts.

It did not mention a January 27 attack on a top Kabul hotel, in which more than 30 people were killed, nor a bombing on a crowded street a week later that killed more than 100 - both were claimed by the Taliban.

An Afghan government spokesman declined to comment on the statement.

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Some reports earlier said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commanderGen.

Progress has been blocked by the deep mistrust between the government and the Taliban, as well as uncertainty about the position of neighbours including Pakistan, which Afghanistan has long accused of aiding the insurgents.

"The Taliban statement alone does not show willingness to engage in peace talks". "We continue to strike them wherever we find them".

We also expect that the US-led West would also seriously give thought to oft-repeated suggestion of Pakistan to lay focus on negotiated settlement of the conflict rather than intensified use of military power that has so far produced no worthwhile result except complicating things further. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.

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