The Taliban denied agreeing to any ceasefire in Afghanistan after rumors swirled of a potential deal that would see a reduction in fighting after more than 18 years of war.
“In the past few days, some media have been releasing untrue reports about a ceasefire … The fact is that, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has no ceasefire plans,” the Taliban said in a Monday, December 30 statement.
The statement from the insurgents comes as local and international forces brace for another bloody winter amid U.S.-Taliban talks to end the violence in Afghanistan.
Deadly bouts of fighting have continued even as Washington negotiates with the militants in a bid to reduce America’s military footprint in the country, in return for the insurgents ensuring an improved security situation.
Ten Afghan soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack on a government military base in the southern province of Helmand on Saturday, and U.S. special forces soldier was killed in operations against the insurgent group in Kunduz province last Monday.
Afghanistan is also struggling with an ongoing political dispute after officials announced preliminary results in the latest presidential elections that put President Ashraf Ghani on track to secure a second term.
Elections authorities have yet to declare the results as final after receiving more than 16,000 complaints about the polls, with the ultimate tally expected in the coming weeks.
The Taliban have long viewed Ghani as an American stooge and have refused to negotiate with his government, leading many to fear that fighting against Afghan forces will continue even if the U.S. secures an eventual deal with the militants to withdraw.
With reporting from AFP