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Taliban Letter Addresses 'American People,' Urges Talks

FILE: Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province in May 2016.

In a letter, the Taliban has urged the "American people" to press their government to withdraw from Afghanistan, reminding them that the Afghan war is the longest conflict in which they have been involved -- and at a cost of "trillions of dollars."

The more-than-3,000-word letter was addressed on February 14 to "the American people, officials of independent nongovernmental organizations, and the peace-loving Congressmen."

The letter reiterated the Taliban's long-standing offer of direct talks with the United States, which Washington has repeatedly refused, stating that peace negotiations should be between the militants and the Afghan government.

The letter promises a more inclusive regime, education and rights for all, including women, but it appears to rule out power-sharing, saying the militants have the right to form a government.

The letter assails U.S. President Donald Trump's strategy announced in August 2017 that called for military force to bring a more compliant Taliban to the negotiation table.

Based on reporting by AP