Afghan Taliban leader backs peace talks with Kabul, says goal is 'end to occupation'

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The Afghan Taliban leader has backed peace talks with the Kabul government, saying in a rare message that the goal of these efforts is an 'end to occupation" by foreign forces.

The reclusive Mullah Omar also urged world's Muslim leaders to unite and pledged to continue holy war, or jihad, until foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

In Wednesday's message, which was distributed to media ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, he didn't mention the first face-to-face Kabul-Taliban talks hosted by Pakistan earlier this month.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks on Afghan troops in the wake of the departure of NATO combat forces at the end of last year, leaving the Afghans in charge of security in their country.