The United States has called on Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents to cease violence and join peace talks with Kabul.
Reacting to this week’s launch of a spring offensive by the Afghan Taliban, acting U.S. State Secretary John Sullivan said the announcement “affirms the Taliban’s responsibility for the insecurity that destroys the lives of thousands of Afghans each year.”
In a statement issued on April 26, Sullivan called on the Taliban to heed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s recent call to turn their bullets and bombs into ballots.
“They should run for office. They should vote. We encourage Taliban leaders to return to Afghanistan from their foreign safe havens and work constructively for Afghanistan’s future,” he said. “More violence will not bring peace and security to Afghanistan.”
In an April 25 statement, the Afghan Taliban announced the launch of their yearly spring campaign, which typically involves increased attacks on Afghan and international troops and waves of bombings in major Afghan cities.
The insurgents vowed to "mainly focused on crushing, killing, and capturing American invaders." The statement said that Washington’s "internal supporters" -- the Afghan government and troops -- are a lesser priority.
The Taliban announcement is accompanied by a fresh wave of attacks, which saw more than 100 Afghan civilians and soldiers killed across the country.