Taliban militants killed in encounter with security forces

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Taliban militants killed in encounter with security forces

The announcement "demonstrates their indifference to the demands of Afghans across the country", said Mr Khalilzad.

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has condemned the announcement of spring offensive by Taliban as he called on Pakistan, Qatar, and other nations to condemn the announcement as well, Afghan media reported on Saturday. Preparations are also underway for a new round of talks between Afghan political leaders and the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Friday's announcement instructs the Taliban mujahideen, or holy warriors, to "launch jihadi operations with sincerity and pure intentions", strictly abiding by the Taliban command structure.

A spokesman of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, Dave Butler, said the coalition forces will continue to support the Afghan forces in the fight against the Taliban as the group has chosen violence despite an "amazing" opportunity forces.

The announcement is something the militant group does every year, even though Taliban attacks never really ceased during the harsh winter months.

"Taliban's push to continue war and corruption in Afghanistan is happening at a time that the country's and the world's religious scholars have called Taliban's fight against the people of Afghanistan an "evil", not Jihad", the statement said.

The Taliban effectively controls almost half of Afghanistan and has continued to launch frequent attacks on security forces despite holding several rounds of peace talks with the United States in recent months after almost 18 years of war.

A local health official said more than 70 dead and wounded had been brought into the main city hospital.

The attack came a day after the Taliban announced its traditional spring offensive - an increase in operations with which they seek to increase their control in urban areas - and at the same time that the insurgents are trying to move forward in peace talks with the United States. "We assemble the Resolute Support leadership together and Gen. Miller said the Taliban have made it clear that they have ignored the will of the people and have guaranteed more violence", Butler said.

"We are committed to the ongoing negotiations process and a peaceful resolution but can not remain indifferent to the military operations and ongoing crimes of the invaders [U.S. -led alliance] and their internal supporters", Mujahid said in a statement sent to media.

He added that some members of the group "including fighters and some leaders oppose this announcement". Taweed Abad: "Afghan Security Forces killed 5 Taliban terrorists and wounded 6 others", the joint press release added.

In the western Ghor province, the Taliban ambushed a police convoy on Friday afternoon, killing seven security forces and igniting a battle that raged for several hours, said Abdul Hai Khateby, the governor's spokesman.

President Ashraf Ghani on April 2 approved the security plan for the current solar year as conflicts are intensifying between security forces and Taliban in different parts of the country.

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