Taliban nix lasting peace before political agreement: US envoy for Afghan peace Sep 27, 2020 0 325 12345 DPAKABULAs violence escalates across Afghanistan, the US envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, said the Taliban would not accept a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire until a political settlement has been reached with the Afghan government.Speaking with the US broadcaster PBS on Friday night, Khalilzad said that the militants could, however, reduce their attacks in the meantime.“I think they can do a reduction of violence. They have said they will consider it, depending on what the proposal is. The government is supportive of it, too,” he said.When asked why the militants have not yet publicly cut ties with the terror network of Al Qaeda as set out in their deal with the US, Khalilzad said that Washington will assess the situation in the next couple of months after the number of its troops in Afghanistan fell to 4,000-5,000 from the current level of 8,500.The comments came as dozens of members of the Afghan security forces were killed or wounded across the country in non-stop Taliban attacks.Only on Wednesday, the Taliban killed 28 members of the security forces in southern Uruzgan province even after they laid down their guns.On Saturday, the Taliban claimed to have killed a number of troops in central Bamyan and north-eastern Badakhshan provinces.A spokesman for the group, Zabiullah Mujahid, also posted photos of their fighters in north-eastern Panjshir province, an area considered the centre of anti-Taliban resistance during the 1990s.The Afghan teams have not yet been able to finalise a negotiating method even after two weeks of talks in Doha.Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a telephone conversation that his country supports the ceasefire, which is the main demand of the Afghan government in the peace talks, according to a statement issued on Friday evening. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES India’s vaccine capacity will help ‘all humanity’: Modi Sep 27, 2020 0 844 CAR president Touadera announces candidacy for December election Sep 27, 2020 0 319 Lebanon’s PM-designate bows out after failing to form cabinet Sep 27, 2020 0 700 Somali army frees 40 children kidnapped by Al Shabaab MOGADISHU: The Somali army killed 16 Al Shabaab militants in an offensive in lower Shabelle province on Saturday, officials said, in an attempt to free dozens of children. The children had been kidnapped by the Islamist .. Tunisia reports its highest daily coronavirus caseload TUNIS: Tunisia on Saturday confirmed 1,087 new cases of the coronavirus, the North African country’s highest single-day caseload since March. The latest reported cases have taken Tunisia’s total virus caseload to .. Seven killed in blast in rebel-held Syrian area: Monitor DAMASCUS: A car bomb killed at least seven people on Saturday in an area controlled by Turkish troops and their rebel allies in north-east Syria, a war monitor reported. Ten others were injured in the bombing that took .. Jailed Iran rights lawyer ends hunger strike over health concerns AFP Tehran Jailed Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has stopped a hunger strike she began more than 45 days ago due to health concerns, her husband said on Saturday. Sotoudeh, 57, announced she was going on .. Rouhani condemns US for ‘crimes’ against Iran AFP Tehran Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday said people should blame Washington for the “crimes and pressure” facing the country, as waves of US sanctions impact the struggling economy. “They prevented the .. 1 killed in clashes with police at Egypt protest AFP CAIRO An Egyptian man was killed overnight on Saturday in clashes between protesters and police during a demonstration in a village south of Cairo against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, family and medical sources ..