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"The Afghan people have clearly voiced their desire for peace".
Hours after the Taliban announced their so-called spring offensive, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, who has held five rounds of talks with Taliban members, said the announcement is "reckless" and is "indifference" to the demands of Afghans for peace. Preparations are also underway for a new round of talks between Afghan political leaders and the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha.
Taliban's massive offensive to capture Afghanistan's Shirzad district in the Nangarhar province has been repulsed and the militant group fled away after leaving 27 bodies behind, the provincial government said in a statement on Saturday.
The Taliban launches its annual offensive in spring aimed at gaining grounds to topple Afghan government.
"At a time when all Afghans should come together in talks to determine a common future, a call for fighting suggests the Taliban are stuck in the ways of the past".
The insurgents effectively control almost half of Afghanistan and have continued to launch daily attacks on security forces despite holding several rounds of peace talks with the United States in recent months.
Another 25 militants were killed by the security forces and 12 more suffered wounds in the northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan, the Defense Ministry said in a separate press release.
"The Taliban made an announcement this morning that they choose violence over peace".
The Taliban announced Friday the start of their spring offensive despite talking peace with the United States and ahead of a significant gathering of Afghans meant to discuss resolutions to the protracted war and an eventual withdrawal of American troops from the country.
A Taleban statement said the objective of the Al-Fath ("Victory") offensive was "eradicating occupation, cleansing our Muslim homeland from invasion and corruption, establishing an Islamic system along with defending and serving our believing fellow countrymen".
According to US estimates, government forces control just over half the country, but with many areas out of reach of easy communications an accurate picture is hard.
Nangarhar Governor Shahmahmood Miakhel said Afghan forces repelled the attack after reinforcements arrived.
"We are committed to the ongoing negotiations process and a peaceful resolution but can not remain indifferent to the military operations and ongoing crimes of the invaders [U.S. -led alliance] and their internal supporters", Mujahid said in a statement sent to media. But they were "pushed back and defeated" by security forces, said the government in a statement.
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