KABUL, Oct 25: Taliban militants on Saturday vowed to continue fighting in Afghanistan and ruled out peace talks with President Hamid Karzai’s government as long as foreign troops remained in the country.

With no end in sight to the conflict which has now entered its eighth year, western leaders now admit the war cannot be won militarily and that ultimately peace talks will have to be held to bring an end to fighting that has killed 4,000 people this year.

Saudi Arabia hosted a meeting of pro-government Afghan figures and former Taliban officials last month which analysts say could be a small step towards more substantial dialogue. But the Taliban have denied any involvement in the talks.

“It will be impossible for the invader armies to delay the progress of jihad and to stop Muslim ummah (nation) in Afghanistan,” the Taliban said in a statement on their website.“The Islamic emirate wants to make it clear that the only solution and the most successful path for resolving the Afghan problem is for foreign forces to leave Afghanistan unconditionally,” it said.

Afghanistan this year has suffered from the worst violence since US-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001.

Washington has ordered a major review of military strategy in Afghanistan and both US presidential candidates have vowed to refocus efforts on the war which has long been over-shadowed by the conflict in Iraq.