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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg asks Taliban to show 'real will' to reduce violence

Jens Stoltenberg

Brussels, Feb 13 (UITV/IANS)- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has urged the Taliban to show "real will" to reduce violence in Afghanistan.

Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, he said it was "extremely important to convey a clear message to Taliban that they have to show and demonstrate a real will and ability to reduce violence and to engage in credible peace talks", Efe news reported.

Stoltenberg added that NATO would "welcome any steps that can lead to reduction in violence" in Afghanistan.

Stoltenberg's remarks came a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday said that the Taliban has proposed a reduction of violence in the country, a breakthrough towards an agreement in peace negotiations with the United States which have stalled for several months.

The proposal, which has been one of the main demands of US negotiators and the government in Kabul, was revealed by the Afghan leader after a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Stoltenberg said NATO remained involved in Afghanistan through its role advising, supporting, training security forces and funding.

"Because when we train and support the Afghan forces with training, but also with funding, we are helping the Afghans to send a very clear message to Taliban that they will never win on the battlefield," he added.

In addition to the role the US has assumed in the Taliban negotiations, Stoltenberg also welcomed Germany and Norway's offers to facilitate intra-Afghan talks.

Afghanistan has been ravaged by war since the 2001 invasion of a US-led coalition that brought down the Taliban regime.

Large territories of the country continue to be under Taliban control.