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Afghan officials voiced optimism Sunday that Taliban peace talks would resume "within weeks" even after the insurgents rebuffed calls for dialogue, with analysts dismissing their seemingly tough stance as a bargaining ploy.Talks brokered by a four-country group were expected to start in early March, but the Taliban on Saturday stressed longstanding preconditions for dialogue including the departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan.Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday said he was "hopeful" about peace talks aimed at ending the Taliban's 14-year insurgency, imploring the militant group to join the negotiating table.A historic first round of Taliban talks took place in Pakistan last July, but came to a standstill after the insurgents confirmed longtime leader Mullah Omar's death, which had been kept secret for two years.Security analysts have warned that the Taliban could use talks as cover to regroup and rearm.
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