U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is welcoming a ceasefire offer made to the Afghan Taliban over the weekend by the Afghan government. The offer comes as the Afghan Taliban stretches its lethal reach across Afghanistan with violent campaigns that have been building in intensity since earlier this year. Recent attacks include bloody battles in the streets of Ghazni, less than 100 kilometers from the capital, Kabul. U.S. and Afghan forces appear to have regained control of most parts of the city, but the symbolic show of strength that also included attacks against Afghan police and military bases, left as many as 500 people dead. While Pentagon chief Jim Mattis characterized the Ghazni attack as an attempt to gain press coverage, Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada called for direct talks with the U.S.
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