Doha: Afghan government negotiators in Qatar have offered the Taliban a power-sharing deal in return for an end to fighting in the country, a government negotiating source told AFP on Thursday.
"Yes, the government has submitted a proposal to Qatar as mediator. The proposal allows the Taliban to share power in return for a halt in violence in the country," the source said.
The Taliban seized the strategic Afghan city of Ghazni Thursday, just 150 kilometres (95 miles) from Kabul, their most important gain in a lightning offensive that has seen them overrun 10 provincial capitals in a week.
The interior ministry confirmed the fall of the city, which lies along the major Kabul-Kandahar highway and serves as a gateway between the capital and strongholds in the south.
"The enemy took control," spokesman Mirwais Stanikzai said in a message to media, adding fighting and resistance was still going on.
The government has now effectively lost most of northern and western Afghanistan and is left holding a scattered archipelago of contested cities also dangerously at risk of falling to the Taliban.
The conflict has escalated dramatically since May, when US-led forces began the final stage of a troop withdrawal due to end later this month following a 20-year occupation.
The loss of Ghazni will likely pile more pressure on the country's already overstretched airforce, needed to bolster Afghanistan's dispersed security forces who have increasingly been cut off from reinforcements by road.
Pro-Taliban social media accounts also boasted of the vast spoils of war their fighters had recovered in recent days, posting photos of armoured vehicles, heavy weapons, and even a drone seized by the insurgents at abandoned Afghan military bases.
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