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Afghan Taliban kill 21 soldiers, suspend prisoner swap attempt

By Mohammed Anwar ASADABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) - The Afghan Taliban killed 21 soldiers in an assault on Sunday in a remote mountainous region, the Afghan government said, and six soldiers were missing after the militants' most deadly assault on the security forces in months.

Despite dangers, 'moderate' Taliban talk peace

Faced with the prospect of unending war in Afghanistan, a moderate faction of the Taliban is pushing hard for a new peace dialogue in a move fraught with danger but openly welcomed by Kabul. The risk these rebels face was made starkly clear last week when one of their senior figures, Abdul Raqeeb, was gunned down outside a religious seminary in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on his way home.

Taliban kill 20 Afghan soldiers in predawn attack

Afghan President Hamid Karzai slammed Pakistan on Sunday for failing to "eliminate nests of terror" after the Taliban killed 20 soldiers and kidnapped seven in a daring raid on a border outpost. The attack in the eastern Kunar province was the single deadliest strike on Afghan troops in recent months by the Taliban, and caused Karzai to cancel a planned two-day visit to Sri Lanka.

Taliban kill 20 Afghan soldiers in predawn attack

The Taliban stormed an Afghan army outpost in the eastern Kunar province bordering Pakistan early Sunday, killing 20 soldiers and kidnapping seven, an official said. The volatile border area is dominated by militants who often use improvised explosive devices to target soldiers, but Sunday's attack saw the highest casualty count in a single incident in recent months. The incident occurred in the Ghaziabad district of Kunar province, provincial governor Shujah-Ul Mulk Jalala told AFP. The Taliban later issued a statement claiming responsibility.

Afghan President Karzai cancels Sri Lanka visit

Afghan President Hamid Karzai cancelled a two-day state visit to Sri Lanka Sunday, the foreign ministry in Colombo said, as Taliban insurgents killed 20 of his soldiers in eastern Afghanistan. "Please note that the visit of the President of Afghanistan to Sri Lanka has been cancelled," the ministry said without giving a reason. Karzai had been due to hold talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse and address reporters in Colombo on Monday before returning home.

U.S. report says planned cuts to Afghan forces threaten stability

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Taliban insurgents will increasingly threaten Afghan stability after international forces withdraw in December, and Kabul will need more troops than currently envisioned to provide basic security, according to a new independent strategy review.

U.S. moves to revive stalled Afghan peace talks: officials

By Missy Ryan, Phil Stewart and Warren Strobel KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration is taking steps it hopes could lead to a resumption of peace talks to end the Afghan conflict, including reviving a proposed swap of Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in return for a U.S. prisoner of war.

Exclusive: Afghan peace team seeks Dubai meeting with Taliban figures

By Hamid Shalizi and Missy Ryan KABUL (Reuters) - A delegation from Afghanistan's High Peace Council has travelled to Dubai to meet former and current Taliban figures, in the hope of laying the groundwork for peace talks to end Afghanistan's long conflict, sources familiar with the move told Reuters. Officials led by Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, a senior aide to President Hamid Karzai, travelled on Sunday to the United Arab Emirates, officials from the High Peace Council and the Afghan government confirmed.

Afghan law to be revised after pressure on women's rights

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday ordered amendments to a proposed law criticised for eroding women's rights, as campaigners called for major changes to preserve progress made since the Taliban era. The law, which was awaiting Karzai's signature after being passed by parliament, will now be amended after an international campaign backed by the European Union, Canada and several rights groups. One article would have banned family members from testifying against male relatives in cases where women were abused.

Former Afghan Taliban minister shot dead in NW Pakistan

A former minister of the Afghan Taliban who was in favour of peace talks with the Kabul government was gunned down in Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar on Monday, Afghan Taliban sources said. "Armed assailants riding on a motorbike shot Mullah Abdul Raqeeb, a former minister for refugees during the Taliban regime, killing him on the spot," a member of the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan told AFP.
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