Afghanistan: Government urges Taliban to join peace talks

    Afghanistan: Government urges Taliban to join peace talks

    May 26, Kabul: Afghan government has called on the new Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada to join peace talks or face dire consequences. This came only hours after the armed group appointed him.

    The Taliban named Haibatullah Akhunzada their news leader on Wednesday after confirming the death of Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in a US drone strike in Pakistan.

    The Taliban has repeatedly refused to take part in peace talks sponsored by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, which comprises representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US, reports said.

    The fighters also show no signs of easing their ongoing spring offensive against the Afghan government.

    On Wednesday, a suicide bombing, claimed by the Taliban, targeted a vehicle carrying court employees near the capital Kabul, killing at least 10 people.

    The Taliban seized power and ruled Afghanistan from 1996, but were toppled by US-led invasion after September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

    Almost 15 years later, about 13,000 troops from a US-NATO coalition remain in the country, including about 9,800 Americans.

    Accoridng to reports, the violence left about 11,000 civilians killed or wounded last year alone as well as 5,500 government troops and police officers.

    The Oslo Times


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