Jim Mattis' visit to Afghanistan could add momentum to establish a truce with the Taliban after the US defense secretary said he was hopeful about peace talks with the militants.
Every major stakeholder in Afghanistan is now open to talking to the Taliban. But who exactly is 'the Taliban'?
Moscow agreed to delay the meeting initially fixed for September 4 to an unknown future date after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani proposed postponing it due to the need to develop Afghanistan’s position on this issue.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan's promised 'New Pakistan' is tied, he says, to peace in neighbouring Afghanistan. The odds are against him.
The four reportedly quit over differences with the government on how to handle the deteriorating security situation that has seen attacks from Daesh and the Taliban escalate.
The militants' strikes hit an area around the presidential palace just as president Ashraf Ghani was delivering a speech marking the beginning of Eid al-Adha, a three-day religious festival.
It was not immediately clear whether the Taliban had accepted Ghani's call for a truce during Eid, the annual Islamic feast of sacrifice, which officially begins on Tuesday.
Afghan officials said US special forces units were on the ground helping to coordinate air strikes and ground operations as reports emerged that more than 300 killed on both sides, including over 100 government forces and 20 civilians.
Officials say the attack took place in northern Sar-i-Pul province in which an Afghan Taliban commander was also killed. Separately, officials say Afghan forces freed at least 54 people from a Taliban prison in southern Helmand province.
At least seven civilians were killed in a suicide bomb attack by Daesh close to the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development in Kabul.
Security sources say dozens of soldiers have been killed in the ongoing clashes in which militants using night-vision goggles launched simultaneous raids on several Afghan military bases and posts in Dashte Archi district in Kunduz province .
US Secretary of State Pompeo promised support for President Ghani's bid to start peace talks with the Taliban but Taliban rejects negotiations with Kabul, demanding direct talks with Washington.
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