Taliban claim attack as spring offensive begins

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday April 10. — AP

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday April 10. — AP

"Many Talibs including fighters and some leaders oppose this announcement", he said.

The northern city lies at a strategic crossroads in the heart of a major agricultural region, with easy access to much of northern Afghanistan as well as the capital, Kabul.

It added that the Taliban and their regional allies are pursuing power through the "imposed war", but the Afghan government will defend every inch of its territory. The insurgents pushed into the city center a year later, briefly raising their flag before gradually being pushed out.

"All sides must end unnecessary violence, and instead engage in intra-Afghan dialogue which leads to negotiations on a political settlement and a roadmap to end the war this year", he wrote in a tweet.

The Arg (presidential palace) said in a statement that the Taliban announced their so-called spring offensives amid intensified efforts by the Afghan government to put a peaceful end to the "imposed war" in the country.

Over a dozen Taliban fighters including 2 foreigners were killed and 10 others injured, the official said, adding they were deafeated. Another two police and a civilian were wounded, Khateby said.

The Taliban, who frequently exaggerate numbers, claimed to have killed or wounded "more than 200 soldiers, police and militias".

Taliban massive offensive to capture Shirzad district in the eastern Nangarhar province has been repulsed and the militant group fled away after leaving 27 bodies behind, said a statement of the provincial government released on Saturday.

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A clash between government forces and the Taliban outfit in Baghlan's neighboring Samangan province has also left three local policemen dead and six others injured, Raz Mohammad Moahidi, deputy to provincial council, said.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office on Saturday condemned "in the strongest words" the announcement of Operation Fath.

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

A spokesman of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, Dave Butler, said the coalition forces will continue to support the Afghan forces in the fight against the Taliban as the group has chosen violence despite an "amazing" opportunity forces.

Worldwide travel restrictions were lifted on members of the Taleban's negotiating team, including its leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

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

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