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Mattis: Withdrawal, Private Contractors 'Being Considered' as Options for Afghanistan

The 20th report of the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team was submitted to the UN Security Council Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee

He also revealed that a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was being considered.

Sending in more U.S. troops to Afghanistan would be "self-destructive" because the military situation in the country is "far worse that the U.S. realize", the Taliban told U.S. President Donald Trump in a rare open letter on Tuesday.

A senior Taliban official told Reuters the rare decision to address Trump directly was timed to coincide with the president's deliberations on the future of US policy in Afghanistan. Due to its rough terrain and underdeveloped infrastructure, it is not possible for central governments to control the entire Afghanistan.

The hardline Islamists also said the only thing preventing them from seizing major cities from government forces was a fear of causing civilian casualties.

117 insurgents have been killed and 30 others injured in the war against the anti-government armed oppositions in Afghanistan over the past 24 hours, Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement released here on Monday. Influential voices including Republican Senator John McCain have also urged an "enduring" US military presence in Afghanistan.

The Taliban are fighting to restore their Islamist rule over Afghanistan, which they enjoyed from 1996 to 2001, when they were the most powerful faction in the country, before being toppled by an American-led invasion.

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The Taliban said Mr Trump should reverse his decision to delegate military policy in Afghanistan to Defence Secretary James Mattis - who has recommended sending 4,000 more troops into the fray - and instead announce the withdrawal of United States forces.

But such plans have faced scepticism in the White House, where Trump and several top aides have criticized years of American military intervention and foreign aid. However, U.S officials believe it could take weeks for a South Asia strategy to be approved.

According to Dawn News, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid sent copies of the letter to journalists on Tuesday stating that Trump had recognised the errors of his predecessors by seeking a review of the USA policy on Afghanistan.

However, the United States is likely to continue its support to Afghan forces as the country's "stability and security continue to face threats from the taliban-led insurgency, criminal networks, and terrorist organisations, including the militant Islamic State group-Khorasan", the report said.

"A number of warmongering congressmen and generals in Afghanistan are pressing you to protract the war in Afghanistan because they seek to preserve their military privileges, but instead you must act responsibly as the fate of many Americans and Afghans alike is tied to this issue", the Taliban said.

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