Intra-Afghan Talks: India's participation acceptance of changed realities

H. R. Mc Master wearing a suit and tie Then national security adviser H.R. Mc Master during is seen during a meeting Jan. 25 2018 meeting in Davos Switzerland

H. R. Mc Master wearing a suit and tie Then national security adviser H.R. Mc Master during is seen during a meeting Jan. 25 2018 meeting in Davos Switzerland

At least 23 Afghan soldiers and 31 militants were killed and several fighters wounded in separate clashes in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar and western Badghis provinces on Wednesday night, provincial officials confirmed on Thursday.

Mr Khogyani said about 30 Taleban fighters died in the clashes - including some foreigners.

His comments come over a week after Mr. Trump and administration officials said that a further drawdown of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan is on the horizon.

The latest fighting comes as the Afghan government and Taleban are engaged in talks in Doha aimed at ending the long-running conflict.

Afghanistan's acting Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid blamed the Taliban for the fighting. It's the first time the two sides have met face to face after decades of war.

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In his speech at the opening session of the peace talks on Saturday, Mr Abdullah had called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, but his plea has gone unanswered.

First was the release of all 5000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1000 members of Afghan defence forces, which was initially opposed by the Afghan government and now opposed by key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies against the release of six hardcore members of Taliban involved in attacks on their soldiers and secondly, the commencement of withdrawal of United States troops from Afghan soil, as committed by it in Peace Agreement of 29 February between the two sides.

The Taliban have long anxious that reducing violence could lessen their leverage, but have implemented two temporary ceasefires this year itself. Afghan and Taliban representatives began meeting this month in Doha for the start of talks, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Doha to help commence them.

A February peace deal between the US and Taliban opened the door to American troop withdrawal from the country and eventual intra-Afghan negotiations.

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