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Afghan Government Rejects Preconditions For Talks With Taleban

The Afghan government has rejected any conditions for peace talks with the Taleban, after the Islamist militants demanded the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country.

Presidential spokesman Homayun Hamidzada said Tuesday the Afghan government is not open to any negotiations with preconditions. He added that the only promise the government will make is for the safety of rebel negotiators.

A Taleban spokesman told Reuters News agency that the group is sticking to its demands. Last week, the Taleban expressed a willingness for negotiations only if all of the 50,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan leave the country.

The Taleban was ousted from power in Afghanistan by a U.S.-led offensive in late 2001.

Militant attacks in southern and eastern Afghanistan have escalated over the past 19 months, marking the bloodiest period since the beginning of the war.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.