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Ready to find a peaceful solution: Taliban.

KABUL: The Taliban urged the United States on Monday to begin talks to end almost 17 years of war in Afghanistan, adding to a series of signals that suggest a greater willingness to explore options for dialogue.In its statement late Monday night, two days before the start of a meeting of regional leaders inKabulto discuss ways of ending the war, the movement said it wanted a peaceful resolution.

"The Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls on American officials to talk directly to the Political Office of Islamic Emirate regarding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary," it said."It would help in finding a solution ifAmericaaccepts the legitimate demands of the Afghan people and forward its own concerns and requests for discussion to the Islamic Emirate through a peaceful channel," it said.

The Taliban also said in the statement that the group made it clear to theUSin its recent letter that "war is not our choice, rather it has been imposed upon us. For ending the occupation, we want a peaceful resolution to the Afghan issue".

The statement noted that "it must now be established byAmericaand her allies that the Afghan issue cannot be solved militarily."Americamust henceforth focus on a peaceful strategy forAfghanistaninstead of war.

Military strategies which have repeatedly been tested inAfghanistanover the past seventeen years will only intensify and prolong the war. And this is not in the interest of anyone.

"The statement also comes days after Kabul started discussions with the Qatar government to close the Taliban's office in Doha as it has had "no positive consequence in terms of facilitating the peace talks with the group in Afghanistan", a senior Afghan government official said.There is no need to keep the office open, said Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the National Security Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani, last week.

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Publication:Pakistan Today (Lahore, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9AFGH
Date:Feb 27, 2018
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