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Afghan officials: Taliban kill 11 policemen, 10 others - global

Afghan officials: Taliban kill 11 policemen, 10 others - global

On an April withdrawal, he said: "It's our desire".

However, the Taliban has given mixed signals about whether such a withdrawal may be imminent during negotiations in Russian Federation.

Decades after the Soviet Union's disastrous venture into Afghanistan, Russia is emerging as a major player in the region, with ties to the Taliban and Afghan politicians as US troops withdraw from the country.

The meeting in Moscow is separate from the US-Taliban peace talks. "Everything" must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire".

"We have not agreed to any timeline for a possible drawdown of troops and are not going to get into any other specific details of diplomatic conversations", the spokesperson said in a statement.

The two-day talks is the first time a Taliban delegation has officially met with senior Afghan politicians, although the participants were not representing the government.

"However, Pakistan's actions are often a source of frustration to the USA regional efforts in Afghanistan", General Votel said.

A powerful former Afghan warlord has said on the sidelines of peace talks with the Taliban in Moscow that he is open to constitutional changes that the movement may be seeking.

The Kremlin hosted another Taliban meeting in November a year ago which brought to the negotiating table representatives of the insurgent group as well as members of the Afghan peace council - a body created by the Afghan government to facilitate peace talks.

That may now change after U.S. President Donald Trump said he wanted to eventually pull American troops out of the country and end almost two decades of U.S. military involvement there.

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The Afghan government is worrying openly that the USA will leave them at the mercy of the Taliban.

The sheer optics of the United States, which for the better part of the two decades has been fighting the Taliban, now recognizing the insurgent group as a legitimate interlocutor while ignoring the claims of the Ghani government can be quite damaging for broader American foreign and security policy.

President Ghani believes such an agreement will not result in lasting peace and could eventually lead Afghanistan to yet another civil war.

"No power in the country can dissolve the government", said Ghani, who added he was ready to "stand and defend our country".

In the Kunduz attack, the Taliban stormed the base, located on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Kunduz city, around 2 a.m., said Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, head of the provincial council.

On the critical issue of women's rights, Stanikzai said the Taliban were committed to all rights of women "that have been given to them by the sacred religion of Islam".

"They can go to school, they can go to universities, they can work", he added.

"The policy of the Islamic Emirate is to protect the rights of women in a way that neither their legitimate rights are violated nor their human dignity and Afghan values are threatened", he was quoted as saying. "They can say what they want".

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his second State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. February 5, 2019.

President Ashraf Ghani criticized and dismissed the Moscow gathering as an attempt by his political opponents to undermine his constitutionally elected administration. "Until now we did not agree", the Taliban official said. "Any peace that threatens women's rights, freedoms and gains will not be sustainable", a group of Afghan women warn in a statement this week.