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Attack on Afghan checkpoint kills 10 forces personnel

Attack on Afghan checkpoint kills 10 forces personnel”

On Wednesday, a vehicle bomb in Helmand province killed at least two policemen.

He said security forces are battling the Taliban on three different fronts, and the insurgents have launched several attacks on checkpoints around the provincial capital.

"When commando forces were deployed they (the militants) retreated", Jamila Amini, a member of the Farah provincial council, told AFP.

So far the group s response to the offer has been muted, which analysts said reflects debate among Taliban leaders over the merits of engaging with an administration it has long viewed as illegitimate.

Other council members said the assault lasted for three hours. In a separate attack, a suicide blast claimed the lives of two border police personnel in Helmand province.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last month unveiled a plan to open talks to end the 16-year-old war, offering to negotiate with the Taliban without any preconditions. In a proposed trade-off for peace, Ghani offered the Taliban a chance to be recognized as a legitimate political party and withdraw their names from global sanctions lists. He offered his full support to the Afghan-led reconciliation process, White said, noting that it is aimed at achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan.

The Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in 2014.

Asked whether the United States would be willing to talk directly with the Taliban, Mattis reiterated the US position that the talks should be led by Kabul.

As part of its new regional strategy announced in August 2017, Washington has stepped up assistance to the Afghan military in a bid to break the stalemate and force the militants to the negotiating table.

Western diplomats and officials in Kabul say contacts involving intermediaries have been underway with the aim of agreeing on ground rules and potential areas of discussion for possible talks with at least some elements in the Taliban. The Taliban also says that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces must withdraw before negotiations can begin.

Casualties of the Afghan security forces have risen since the beginning of 2015 when Afghan soldiers and police assumed full responsibilities of security from the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops.



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