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Over 20 People Dead As Taliban Resumes Fighting Afghan Troops After A Partial Truce Brokered At The Weekend Fails

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Fighting has resumed in Afghanistan after the Taliban ended a partial truce with government troops, casting doubt on peace talks scheduled for next week.

Dozens of incidents in more than 16 provinces left eight militants and six civilians dead, officials said. Eight security personnel were also killed.

A Taliban spokesman said the call between the US president and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar lasted more than half an hour, and both expressed a desire to bring peace to Afghanistan.

The Taliban said that Mr Trump would ask his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to talk with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in order to make sure negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban went ahead as planned as part of the peace deal.

A dispute over a prisoner swap has raised questions over the agreement – to which the Afghan government is not a direct party.

Under the accord, some 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 Afghan security force prisoners were to be exchanged by 10 March, when talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government are due to start.

But Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday his government had agreed to no such release. And on Monday the militants said talks would not take place if their prisoners were not released first.

The Afghan government said more than 20 people had died in the 24 hours since the Taliban resumed attacks on local targets.

“As a result, six civilians were killed and 14 wounded. Eight enemy were also killed, 15 wounded,” interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

Two soldiers were killed in an attack in Kandahar province, AFP news agency reported, quoting a government statement.

 

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