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    Members of a breakaway faction of the Taliban fighters guard during a patrol in Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan (File)

    Afghan Officials in Secret Talks With Taliban - Reports

    © AP Photo/ Allauddin Khan
    Middle East
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    Kabul has found itself in a challenging situation due to the intra-governmental struggle and the Taliban's expanding influence on Afghan soil.

    Afghan officials are holding secret talks with Taliban representatives amid the bombings that have left some 200 people dead and the group's outgrowth in the country, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing individuals "familiar with the backdoor negotiations."

    Afghanistan's intelligence Chief Masoom Stanikzai and its National Security Chief Mohammed Hanif Atmar continue to each talk separately to the Taliban," the outlet said.

    According to the sources cited by the AP, the move was prompted by Kabul's desire to end the Taliban' militancy that has been continuing for 17 years since the US overthrew the then-ruling group.

    Speaking further, the sources pointed out disagreements in the Afghan government, as neither of the two officials, assigned to hold talks with Taliban, want to talk to each other or the High Peace Council that was established to discuss the Afghan peace process.

    At the same time, Hakim Mujahid, a member of the High Peace Council, has confirmed that Stanikzai still maintains contacts with the Taliban's negotiator Mullah Abbas Stanikzai, who is not related to the government's official, the Associated Press continued.

    Furthermore, former top Taliban member Aga Jan Motasim has said that he was eager to be a mediator in talks between Kabul and the group. He is now reportedly traveling between Kabul, where he holds talks with the authorities, and Turkey, where he is in contact with Taliban representatives.

    READ MORE: Transfer of Force: US Redirects Air Power from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan

    Meanwhile, according to the US, the Taliban has gained control over more than a half of Afghanistan, while some reports say that the group either controls or has influence over some 70 percent of the countries territory.

    In this respect, Donald Trump has ordered to intensify airstrikes on Taliban's positions. The order came half a year after the US president released his new Afghanistan strategy, envisaging the deployment of an additional 4,000 troops, as well as other support to the politically, socially and security-wise unstable country.

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    talks, Taliban, Afghanistan, United States
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