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Taliban Launch Multi-Pronged Attack on Northern Afghan City

Taliban Launch Multi-Pronged Attack on Northern Afghan City”

Twenty-eight Taliban fighters were eliminated by the security forces and 10 more were wounded in clearance operations in the eastern Nangarhar province, the Defense Ministry added.

The Taliban militants on Friday announced the launch of its spring offensive "Al-Fath" on Friday.

In the western Ghor province, the Taliban ambushed a police convoy on Friday afternoon, killing seven security forces and igniting a battle that raged for several hours, said Abdul Hai Khateby, the governor's spokesman.

This comes as the U.S. and the Taliban concluded 16 days of talks in the Qatari capital Doha last month.

More than 2 dozen militants were injured, said the statement cited by Xinhua news agency.

The security official added that the Afghan forces maintained control over the checkpoint but one police officer had died during the clashes.

"We will support the Afghan security forces as they fight to protect the people, we will support the Afghan security forces as they fight the Taliban", he said.

However, after repeated rounds of negotiations between USA and Taleban representatives over recent months, the new offensive underlined how far Afghanistan remains from peace more than 17 years after US-backed forces drove the Taleban from power in 2001.

Taliban fighters attacked the outskirts of a northern Afghan city and bomb blasts were reported in the capital, Kabul, a day after the Taliban launched their annual spring offensive.

The Taliban takeover of Kunduz in 2015 shocked observers, and marked the first time since their ouster in 2001 that they had been able to conquer a major city.

The Taliban have long refused to speak officially with Kabul, calling the government a "puppet" of the West.

Many Afghans are anxious that in America's push for a settlement, concerns for human rights and democracy will ultimately be cast aside and the Taliban will return to power and reimpose their extreme version of Sharia law.

"Through this announcement, Taliban leaders demonstrate their indifference to the demands of Afghans across the country".

The spring offensive traditionally marks the start of the so-called fighting season, though fighting nowadays continues unabated throughout the year.

The Taliban blamed Ghani's government and the U.S. for the violence, accusing them of the indiscriminate killing of civilians in a bombing campaign.

Mr Khalilzad leads the United States team in talks with the Taliban that are held in Doha, Qatar, with Pakistan's support, which responded positively to a USA request to facilitate the talks.

"The requested exemption is exclusively for travels required for participation in peace and reconciliation discussions", the UN Security Council said.



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