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Militants Reject US Advances

TALIBAN insurgents rejected a United States offer of "honourable reconciliation" as a "lunatic idea" yesterday, and said the withdrawal of foreign troops was the only way to end the war in Afghanistan.

With the Afghan conflict now in its eighth year, NATO-led forces and the Taliban are locked in a bloody stalemate with violence set to rise further this year as more US troops arrive and seek to contain the insurgency ahead of August elections.

US President Barack Obama is deploying more troops, more diplomatic effort and more economic assistance, but he has spoken of the need for an "exit strategy."


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