Taliban 'talking and fighting,' says U.S. commander in Afghanistan

Taliban 'talking and fighting,' says U.S. commander in AfghanistanBy Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan played down a spate of recent Taliban attacks on Wednesday, saying violence levels were still lower than average as some insurgents talked peace – a situation he described as “talking and fighting.” “You see mid-level, senior-level Taliban leaders engaging with Afghans,” said Army General John Nicholson, adding that a lot of the diplomatic activity was taking place “off the stage.” Nicholson’s remarks came the same day that gunmen armed with assault rifles and grenade launchers attempted to penetrate the heavily fortified headquarters of the Afghan interior ministry, battling security forces for more than two hours in the latest attack on the capital Kabul. The attack was a reminder of the challenges facing U.S.-backed Afghan forces even after 16 years of war, including in the capital Kabul.

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