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United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for urgent action in Afghanistan to prevent a ‘spring offensive’ by the Taliban. While claiming that the Taliban could make increased ‘territorial gains’ in the country, Mr Blinken, in a letter to the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, called for a 90-day reduction in violence and formation of a transitional government from both sides.
 
The letter, which surfaced in Afghan media on Sunday said, that the United States is currently in pursuit of a high-level diplomatic effort to move matters more fundamentally and quickly toward a settlement and a permanent and comprehensive cease-fire. He also proposed a UN-led peace conference in Turkey attended by foreign ministers and envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and the US.
 
Mr Blinken said that US  is considering all available options on what could be done about 2,500 troops stationed in Afghanistan. He said that the government has made no decisions on the planned exit of US military from Afghanistan by May 1. Since US-backed negotiations with the Taliban began last September, violence has increased in the country. According to local officials, the insurgents who were earlier in control of just rural areas are now advancing towards towns and cities.



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