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Taliban Rejects Kabul Cease-Fire Offer After Seizing Hostages

The Taliban has reportedly rejected an offer by the Afghan government for a cease-fire, with militant commanders vowing to carry on their attacks after Taliban fighters in the north seized nearly 200 hostages from a convoy of passenger buses.A Taliban spokesman said Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada on August 20 rejected President Ashraf Ghani's offer a day earlier of a "conditional" cease-fire with the Taliban to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.The cease-fire was meant to begin on August 20 and run for three months, conditioned upon Taliban participation.But the Taliban spokesman told Reuters by telephone on August 20 that Akhunzada had rejected the new offer on grounds that it would only help the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan."Our leadership feels that they'll prolong their stay in Afghanistan if we announced a cease-fire now," the Taliban spokesman said, declining to be identified.

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