Taliban Says ‘Occupation’ Must End for Afghan Peace

A Taliban delegation met a group of senior Afghan politicians in Moscow on Tuesday, insisting that international forces must leave Afghanistan for peace to be agreed, amid gathering diplomatic efforts to end the 18-year war.

The delegation, led by chief Taliban negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund, met politicians, including senior regional leaders and candidates challenging President Ashraf Ghani in this year’s presidential election.

The Taliban, ousted by U.S.-backed forces weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate.

Mohammad Karim Khalili, head of the High Peace Council, the main body charged with pursuing peace efforts, said dozens of people were being killed in fighting every day and it was time for a “dignified and just mechanism” to end the bloodshed.

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