Taliban Attack Kills 17 Pro-Government Militia In Northern Afghanistan

Some welcomed the move, warning that President Trump's repeatedly stated desire to cut costs and bring the roughly 12,000 United States troops home risked handing Afghanistan back to the Taliban - leaving stranded those who had struggled to improve women's rights, create a free press, and build a nascent democracy.

There are now more than 12,000 American troops stationed in Afghanistan.

A Taliban official familiar with the on-again, off-again talks taking place in Qatar, confirmed to AP that the release of around 5,000 prisoners of Taliban has been written in to the agreement which is under discussion. The duration of the cease-fire was not specified but it is being suggested it would last for 10 days.

The Taliban shura, or ruling council, is now debating whether to accept the USA ceasefire proposal, Taliban officials said. President Trump ended conversations in September following a separate attack, which killed a US solider and 11 others.

The United Nations maintains that intra-Afghan talks which include women and youth are essential for an Afghan-owned peace process and are fundamental to all ongoing peace efforts.

The Taliban have long viewed Ghani as an American stooge and have refused to negotiate with his government, leading many to fear that fighting against Afghan forces will continue even if the United States secures an eventual deal with the militants to withdraw. They will likely decide what a post-war Afghanistan will look like, and what role the Taliban will play.

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The temporary ceasefire had been proposed by USA envoy Khalilzad during the last round of talks.

The alleged payments ultimately helped finance a Taliban-led insurgency that led to the attacks in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Washington.

Local Afghan militias commonly operate in remote areas, and are under the command of either the defence or interior ministries.

The Taliban, however, wants to seal a peace agreement with the United States on the complete withdrawal of USA and NATO-led coalition forces from the country before entering into negotiations with Afghan stakeholders to discuss a permanent settlement to the 18-year-old war, America's longest.

The lawsuit alleges that the subcontractors hired and paid Taliban guards directly in order to save on security costs and that the Taliban used that money to fuel terrorist attacks on USA troops and companies that didn't engage in the practices. "Meanwhile, in this attack, three National Directorate of Security (NDS) staff were also injured.". The Taliban has claimed they were behind the attack.

A powerful suicide vehicle bombing targeted an Afghan army compound in the country's north on Thursday morning (Dec 26), killing six Afghan soldiers, the defence ministry said, blaming the Taleban for the attack.

  • Sonia Alvarado