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U.S. undecided on inmate release for Taliban talks

WASHINGTON — The United States said Wednesday it has taken no decision to release prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay in order to boost reconciliation talks with the Taliban. But State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington is “prepared to support” a proposed overseas Taliban office that backs an Afghan-led reconciliation…

Taliban move ‘could help Afghan peace drive’

The Taliban’s move to open a political office abroad ahead of possible peace talks with the US could mark a significant step on the road towards a negotiated end to Afghanistan’s bloody war, analysts say. The hardline Islamists announced on Tuesday that they had come to an “initial agreement with relevant sides including…

Four soldiers, 12 militants killed in Pakistan attacks

QUETTA, Pakistan — Four Pakistani soldiers and a dozen Taliban militants were killed on Sunday in separate incidents in the violence-wracked country, according to officials. An anti-Taliban fighter also died in a day of clashes and bomb blasts in the country. The first incident took place in Salarzai town, about…

Karzai welcomes Biden’s ‘Taliban not our enemy’ remarks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday welcomed US Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks that the Taliban “per se is not our enemy”. Biden’s comments to Newsweek magazine last week caused uproar in the US, which has been fighting a 10-year war against the Taliban-led insurgency, but reflected an increasing focus…

Taliban ringtones become social camouflage for some in Afghanistan

A new cottage industry has sprung up in Afghanistan: ringtones. But it’s not just any ringtones. According to a report this week by The Wall Street Journal, merchants are loading some of the favorite songs of the Taliban onto phones, which are being used as a form of social camouflage…

Bomb kills three NATO troops in Afghanistan

A roadside bomb attack killed three NATO troops in easternAfghanistan, one of the deadliest flashpoints in the 10-year war against Taliban insurgents, according to the military. NATO’s US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) did not release the nationalities of the troops or give further details of the incident, which happened on Tuesday. The deaths take to…

Afghanistan sets ground rules for Taliban talks

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan will accept a Taliban office in Qatar to help peace talks but no foreign power can get involved in the process without its consent, the government’s peace council said, as efforts gather pace to find a solution to the 10-year war. Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, in a note to foreign missions,…

Afghan shrine blasts kill 58 on Shiite holy day

Twin blasts at Afghan shrines on the Shiite holy day of Ashura left at least 58 people dead on Tuesday, with one massive suicide attack inKabul ripping through a crowd of worshippers including children. The attack in the capital and another in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif came a day after an international…

Afghan human rights situation ‘still critical’ 10 years on

The human rights situation remains “critical” in Afghanistan despite the Taliban’s ouster 10 years ago, Human Rights Watch said, accusing Kabul and its Western backers of failing to prioritise rights conditions. The US-based group on Sunday said the government had missed opportunities to put the rights of Afghans at the…

Taliban commanders claim peace talks with Pakistan

Senior commanders in the Pakistani Taliban on Monday claimed to be holding initial peace talks with the government that could end a wave of bombings that has killed thousands of people. Reports of the contacts emerged on the same day that 16 Pakistani troops were killed in two separate attacks — 14 in an ambush blamed on separatist…

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