The Taliban said on Wednesday, in a rare statement to the American people, they wanted to end Afghanistan’s 17-year war through talks while warning the message should not be seen as a sign of weakness and the fight against US forces would go on.

A more aggressive US strategy in Afghanistan including a surge in air strikes introduced by President Donald Trump in August has pushed the Taliban back from several district centers and two provincial capitals.

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But the militants control large parts of the countryside and have responded to the more aggressive US strategy with two attacks in Kabul in the past few weeks, killing nearly 150 people.

The attacks have toughened both the US and Afghan governments’ stand against initiating talks with the insurgents, although neither side seems capable of winning the conflict.

“Our preference is to solve the Afghan issue through peaceful dialogue,” the Taliban said.

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