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US general meets with Afghan Taliban officials to discuss ‘need to reduce violence’

Maj. Gen. Austin Scott Miller, Maneuver Center of Excellence commanding general, delivers remarks during the Master Sgt. Jared Van Aalst Boulevard road dedication ceremony at Martin Army Community Hospital, 17 Apr. (Sgt. 1st Class Michael R. Noggle/U.S. Army)

This article was originally ​ published ​ by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Austin Miller, has met with representatives of the Taliban’s political office in Doha to discuss the reduction of violence, officials said.

A spokesman for the U.S. military, Sonny Leggett, said Miller had a meeting with “select Taliban leaders” in which they discussed the “need to reduce the violence.”

Leggett said the meeting late on April 10 was “part of the military channel” established in a February deal between the United States and the Taliban. He did not provide further details.

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban office in Doha, said on April 11 that the group had asked the U.S. military not to attack noncombat areas.

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The Taliban published video footage claiming to show a house bombarded by U.S. forces in Badakhshan Province on April 10. Its authenticity could not be independently verified.

The claim comes as the militant group has been blamed for several deadly attacks across Afghanistan in the past two days.

Three civilians were killed and two others were wounded in the Spin Boldak district of the southern province of Kandahar late on April 10. The provincial governor’s spokesman, Bashir Ahmadi, blamed the attack on the Taliban, which has a strong presence in the area.

Taliban militants also attacked the Khawja Omari district of southeastern Ghazni Province on April 10, according to provincial council members.

Officials in the western province of Herat said Taliban militants kidnapped and shot dead five employees of a local state-owned bank late on April 9.

The continuing violence casts doubt on the future of internal peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban aimed at ending the conflict in Afghanistan.