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Mar 8, 7:48 PM EST

UN envoy urges Taliban to respond to Afghan government offer

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. envoy for Afghanistan is urging the Taliban to respond to the government's offer of negotiations and start direct talks "to put an end to the suffering of the Afghan people."

Tadamichi Yamamoto told the Security Council Thursday the Taliban's argument that it won't talk to the government because the conflict is not between Afghan parties "misrepresents the reality."

He said tens of thousands of Afghans are killed and injured every year in confrontations between the Taliban and government forces.

Yamamoto stressed that President Ashraf Ghani "offered peace to the Taliban without preconditions, and laid out a path for negotiations with ... concrete proposals."

He said Ghani's proposal has been widely endorsed and "it is now incumbent upon the Taliban to come forward with an offer of their own."

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