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Taliban Fighters Kill At Least 10 Afghan Troops In North


Taliban militants have killed at least 10 members of the Afghan security forces in the northern province of Kunduz, officials said on December 14, as the government announced that peace talks will resume next month.

The attack occurred in the Imam Sahib district of the province, local counsellors Ghulam Rabbani Rabbani and Aminullah Aydin said.

Eight of the victims were police officers and two were soldiers.

The number of the wounded was not immediately available, the officials said.

Kunduz fell twice to the Taliban in recent years.

Since September, the Afghan government and Taliban militants have been holding peace talks in Qatar aimed at ending decades of war.

Despite the peace talks, violence in Afghanistan has continued unabated. There are regular clashes in various parts of the country and bomb and rocket attacks in Kabul.

On December 14, Afghan government officials announced that the talks will resume early next month as the warring sides take a break after reaching agreement on procedural ground rules for sustaining their dialogue to end the war.

"We're taking a break for now and will be ready to discuss the agenda when talks resume," said an unnamed senior Afghan official overseeing diplomatic communications with the Taliban.

A Taliban spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

The talks came after the United States and the Taliban struck a deal in February on the withdrawal of the remaining 12,000 U.S. troops in exchange for Taliban security guarantees and a commitment to peace negotiations.

Members of the Afghan government delegation said on December 14 they would travel back to Kabul from Doha.

The U.S. forces last week launched an air strike against Taliban insurgents to protect government forces in Kandahar Province in a rare U.S. intervention since their deal with the militants.

With reporting by Reuters and dpa
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