The leader of Afghanistan's Taliban has said there can be no peace in the country as long as foreign "occupation" goes on.
In an August 18 statement to mark the Eid al-Adha holiday, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada repeated that the Taliban remain committed to "Islamic goals" and the sovereignty of Afghanistan.
Akhundzada said the group "insists on direct talks with America" to bring the war in Afghanistan to an end.
The Taliban have experienced a significant resurgence in recent years and control territory across Afghanistan.
More than 100 Afghan security forces and about 30 civilians were killed in a Taliban offensive in the city of Ghazni that began on August 10. Afghan officials say dozens of Taliban militants were also killed in the fighting.
With reporting by AP