Islamist group Afghan Taliban has issued a rare statement addressing the American people in which it has offered to end the long-running conflict in Afghanistan through a dialogue process.
Calling on the Americans and "peace-loving Congressmen" to urge the President Donald Trump government to join them at a negotiating table, the extremist group said it has a constructive role to play in stabilising war-torn Afghanistan.
It is a surprise overture coming from Taliban, which has carried out many attacks, especially against Afghan security personnel and government positions, in recent months. In response, the Trump administration has also tightened its screws against Taliban militants and has stepped up its military offensive since August 2017.
The 2,800-word letter, released by Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, read: "If the policy of using force is continued for another one hundred years. The outcome will be the same... as you have observed over the last six months since the initiation of Trump's new strategy."
It added: "If you want peaceful dialogue with the Afghans specifically, and with the world generally, then make your president and the war-mongering congressmen and Pentagon officials understand this reality and compel them to adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan."
However, the group has yet again made it clear it will not negotiate with the Kabul administration until the foreign boots are present in the Afghan soil. Though the group has been weakened by increasing air strikes by US forces, it still wields enormous clout in Afghan countryside holding many areas.
The US government has so far sent mixed signals on whether it will directly engage with Taliban in any kind of discussions pertaining to the Afghan security situation.
In a bluntly worded statement, the US State Department responded to the latest offer by saying: "The Taliban statement alone does not show [a] willingness to engage in peace talks. The Taliban's recent horrific terror attacks in Kabul speak louder than these words. The Afghan government can only negotiate to end the war if the Taliban are ready. The recent attacks show this is not the case."
Meanwhile, Afghan envoy to the US has also reacted to Taliban's open letter saying it underscores the insurgent group's decreasing foothold in the country. "Taliban's open letter is not for aimed at American audiences. It is their master's propaganda to garner domestic support for the Taliban. The conclusion of the letter clearly indicates Taliban's loss. They see their end is near. It's a face-saving way of asking for a truce," ambassador Hamdullah Mohib wrote on twitter.