Taliban delegation in Moscow says "occupation" must end

Taliban delegation in Moscow says
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A Taliban delegation met a group of senior Afghan politicians in Moscow insisting that international forces must leave Afghanistan for peace to be agreed amid gathering diplomatic efforts to end the 18-year war.

The delegation, led by chief Taliban negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund, met politicians, including senior regional leaders and candidates challenging President Ashraf Ghani in this year's presidential election.

Mohammad Karim Khalili, head of the High Peace Council, said dozens of people were being killed in fighting every day and it was time for a "dignified and just mechanism" to end the bloodshed.

Chief among these is the Taliban refusal to deal directly with President Ashraf Ghani's western-backed government in Kabul, which they dismiss as a "puppet" regime.

The group of politicians attending the ceremony to mark the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and Russia included many of Ghani's most powerful political adversaries.

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