Taliban launch deadly attacks as they demand new constitution

Afghan regime frozen out of Moscow peace talks with the Taliban

Taliban Attack Kills Dozens Of Soldiers And Police, Even As Peace Talks Continue

This comes after a senior Taliban member and deputy head of their Qatar office said on Monday, after the first day's session, that the group would talk to the Afghan government once a timeline was set for the complete withdrawal of USA forces from Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, the President Hotel in central Moscow was the scene of an unusual, high-profile event: the launch of a two-day conference on Afghanistan.

Among those who have confirmed their attendance in Moscow is Haneef Atmar, who is running against Ghani in the presidential elections, former warlord Atta Muhammad Noor and former Afghan president Hamid Karzai - both Ghani rivals - are also attending.

"We are fighting only for freedom of Afghanistan and just to remove the foreign forces from Afghanistan", Stanikzai told RT's Maria Finoshina on Tuesday. "We will bring peace in our country, we have no other agenda". Among U.S. demands is a commitment by the Taliban to stop terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Islamic State from continuing to use Afghanistan as a base of operations.

The marathon negotiations ended with both sides touting "progress" - spurring Afghan fears the United States could cut a deal with the militants to withdraw its forces before a lasting peace with Kabul is reached.

But the lengthy statement also warned that, "Under the name of women [sic] rights, there has been work for immorality, indecency and circulation of non-Islamic cultures".

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Pakistan, Votel said, presents the United States with challenges and opportunities in the execution of its South Asia Strategy. The most recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction noted that the Afghan government controls territory on which 63.5 percent of the population lives.

"We clearly recognize that they (Afghan government) have to be a part of this solution and must be in the negotiation aspects of this, we can't do that on their behalf".

"It will not bring peace to Afghanistan", Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai said.

The longest war in American history may come to an end following an agreement in principle between the US and the Taliban recently concluded in Doha ("US envoy confirms "draft framework" for peace deal in Afghanistan", January 29).

Khalilzad and the Taliban say they made significant progress in the Doha talks and have come close to a deal on withdrawal of US -led foreign forces from Afghanistan. A more involved role for Moscow has surprised many, mostly due to Russia's bloody history in Afghanistan (when it was the Soviet Union) during its occupation of the country from 1979 to 1989.

No government official was invited, despite Ghani's offers to talk peace, underscoring the Taliban's hostility toward the increasingly marginalised Kabul administration.

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In a lengthy interview with the privately owned ToloNews TV, Ghani denounced the ongoing Moscow meeting, arguing the attendees did not have the executive power to translate decisions into action.

It comes as broader peace talks aimed at ending the country's 17-year war appear to be gaining momentum, despite the Taliban's continued refusal to meet directly with Afghan government representatives.

They argue that Ghani seeks to spoil this rare opening for peace and that his resistance derives from a fear that if talks progress, he could lose his chance for five more years in power.

In a separate attack in neighbouring Baghlan province, Taliban militants stormed an isolated check-post of the Afghan local police at 2 a.m.

Addressing the meeting, Hizb-e-Wahdat leader Mohammad Mohaqiq called on the Taliban to show "flexibility" in holding face-to-face talks with Afghan government representatives, according to Afghan media.

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