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Taliban insists Afghan women will keep their rights, as it blames the government for ongoing bloodshed

Afghan and Taliban forces clash
Afghan and Taliban forces clash 02:13

Kabul — America's longest war is winding down. The airbase in Kandahar that was once home to 30,000 foreign troops is now under the control of Afghanistan's own forces. But the future of the country is hardly secure.

There were rare scenes in the capital city of Kabul as Ramadan ended and Muslims came out to parks to enjoy the Eid holiday. The Taliban had agreed to a three-day ceasefire to mark the occasion.

If only it were permanent.

Afghan forces are being pushed back by the Taliban, which is showing little appetite to negotiate a lasting peace agreement.

The insurgent group's spokesman in Doha, where it maintains its only official political office, blames the Afghan government.

But if they're really interested in peace, why do they keep fighting?

Spokesman Suhail Shaheen told CBS News it was the Afghan government whose "approach is not for reconciliation."

Reporter's Notebook: U.S. troop withdrawal 03:32

"Their approach is as if our side will be surrendering," he said, noting that the Taliban "have control of over 70% of the territory of Afghanistan."

We also spoke with the Chairman of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, before the two sides met last week in Doha.

"What is it that they have done?" Abdullah asked about the Islamic extremists. "Participating in negotiations in good faith? Or a reduction in violence? None of these has happened."  

Instead, the Taliban launched major offensives in key provinces.

Shaheen insisted that the Taliban was only counterattacking, "because it is our right to defend our position."

He denied any Taliban responsibility for the recent school bombing that left dozens of girls dead.

Dozens dead in suicide bomb attack at school 02:12

But while Shaheen denied it and insisted it was "not our policy" to attack civilians, the Taliban have killed innocent civilians, including children.      

The spokesman also insisted to CBS News that the Taliban didn't "have any problem with" women exercising basic rights, including to an education and to work, that they've only gained since the Taliban regime was toppled 20 years ago.

Taliban on women's rights, terror ties 01:48

"We do not have any problem with that," he said. "But they are Afghan women, and they should also observe the Afghan norms and Islamic rules."

As the fighting intensifies, Abdullah said he hoped for serious peace talks, and a serious drop in the violence. But he was clear-eyed about the possibilities facing his country.

"Worst case scenario, God forbid, a complete all-out war throughout the country," he told CBS News.

Afghan official on trusting the Taliban 02:31

The Taliban have emerged from past ceasefires fighting even harder.

All Afghans could do as Ramadan ended this year, was enjoy the peace while it lasted.

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