Afghan Taliban leader rallies supporters, calls for unity

AP News
Posted: Mar 18, 2016 9:00 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan Taliban leader has called on followers to end divisions and rally behind him in the fight against the Kabul government.

Mullah Akhtar Mansoor claims the Taliban are winning the war and are "in a better state" than ever. The message, distributed to media Friday, comes amid a government offensive against the Taliban.

The Taliban were toppled in the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. For the past 15 years, they have waged war against the state. Face-to-face talks between government representatives and the Taliban had been expected this month, but the Taliban said they wouldn't participate.

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Mansoor says the Taliban must reunite, referring to splits that emerged in the wake of the announcement last year that his predecessor, Mullah Mohammad Omar, had been dead for more than two years.