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Taliban rejects Afghan government's peace offer, announces spring offensive

IANS  |  Kabul 

The Taliban on Wednesday announced the start of the new spring offensive, rejecting a proposal for dialogue from the Afghan government, describing it as an attempt to "cheat and conspire".

The militant group said in a statement that the fresh offensive "was partly a response to US President Donald Trump's new strategy announced in August that paved the way for the deployment of thousands of more foreign troops in Afghanistan", Khaama Press reported.

The Taliban said that "'Operation Al-Khandaq' will kick off across the country from Wednesday under which they will continue attacks on the Afghan and foreign forces, with "American invaders and their intelligence agents" as the primary target.

It also warned Afghans to stay away from the compounds of the foreign, Afghan forces as well as the convoys. The Taliban also slammed the government initiative launched on February 28 in which President Ashraf Ghani offered them peace talks "without preconditions", along with political recognition, issuing passports, relocation of their families and a release of prisoners.

It was the most ambitious proposal so far from the government to the Taliban. The militant group called the Afghan government's efforts "nothing but a conspiracy orchestrated by the foreign occupiers for enervating, crushing and eventually pacifying the ongoing legitimate Afghan resistance".

The militant organisation, which made an offer for dialogue to the US government in January, accused Washington of having "no serious or sincere intentions of bringing the war to an end".

"Rather they want to intensify and prolong it (the war) by engulfing Afghanistan as well as the whole region in its flames, thus securing chances of their further influence and interference," the Taliban said.

Since the formal end of NATO's combat mission in January 2015, the Afghan government has been steadily losing ground to insurgents and now controls only 57 per cent of the country, according to the US Special Inspector General for Reconstruction of Afghanistan.

--IANS

soni/bg

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 25 2018. 14:24 IST
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