Afghan conflict: Taliban to resume attacking local forces after deal with US

The Taliban are to resume attacks against government forces, just days after signing a deal with the US aimed at bringing peace to Afghanistan.
The hard-line Islamist group had observed a "reduction in violence" in the week leading up to the agreement.
The deal included a commitment to hold peace talks with the Afghan government.
But the group's spokesman said on Monday the talks would not go ahead if 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the government were not released.
The release formed part of the agreement signed on Saturday in Qatar with the US.
But on Sunday, Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani told reporters his government had agreed to no such release.
"There is no commitment to releasing 5,000 prisoners," Mr Ghani said. "This is the right and the self-will of the people of Afghanistan. It could be included in the agenda of the intra-Afghan talks, but cannot be a prerequisite for talks."
The Taliban have previously refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, so Saturday's deal was just with the US, which invaded Afghanistan weeks after the September 2001 attacks in New York by al-Qaeda, then based in Afghanistan.
The Taliban were ousted from power but became an insurgent force that by 2018 was active in more than two-thirds of the country.

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