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A more aggressive U.S. strategy in Afghanistan has put the Taliban on the back foot, soldiers and police say, but bloody recent attacks in Kabul show the insurgency remains potent and a prolonged stalemate looms.The Taliban made gains after NATO withdrew most combat troops in late 2014 .NATO's Resolute Support mission said Tuesday the air campaign had been expanded in the north with B-52 bombers striking Taliban positions.A Taliban spokesman denied that airstrikes had forced fighters to flee, saying instead that they were still operating in district centers and across the countryside.According to a recent BBC study, the Taliban are openly active in 70 percent of districts. Trump rejected talks with the Taliban after a Jan. 27 bomb in Kabul killed 103 people, a week after a raid on a hotel killed some 30 people, including four Americans. But the long-term U.S. aim remains to force the militants into a settlement, a top U.S. official said later.
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