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US, Taliban Signal Afghan Peace Talks Intact Despite Offensive'

 

American and Taliban officials have indicated their months-long peace dialogue remains on track, despite the intensification of hostilities in Afghanistan that came with the start of the insurgent group's spring offensive. U.S.-backed Afghan security forces and insurgents have both claimed they have inflicted heavy casualties on each other since Friday when the Taliban announced its annual spring offensive, which marks an increase in fighting, now in its 18th year. The insurgent offensive promptly drew strong condemnation from Zalmay Khalilzad, who is leading the American team of negotiators discussing a possible peace deal with the Taliban. He denounced the offensive as "reckless." In turn, the Taliban slammed Khalilzad's remarks and justified the offensive, citing the continued U.S. "occupation" of Afghanistan. The war of words raised questions about the fate of the ongoing U.S.-Taliban talks...............................

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