July 15 (UPI) -- The Taliban proposed a three-month cease-fire if Afghan officials release 7,000 captured fighters, an Afghan government official announced Thursday.
The proposal comes amid months of ramped-up fighting in the wake of the United States' announcement that it would withdraw all troops by Sept. 11.
"It's a big demand," government negotiator Ahmad Nader Naderi told reporters during a news conference in Kabul.
In addition to the release of fighters, the Taliban requested that the militant group's leaders be removed from a U.N. blacklist.
Naderi accused the Taliban of destroying hundreds of government buildings as they attempt to capture key territory. The Taliban said they've taken about 85% of the territory in Afghanistan, while the government puts that figure closer to 33%.
They have destroyed "260 buildings that are property of the people of this country," he said. "They have been destroyed, blown up or burnt down. If you look at how much money is spent, it is worth at least $500 million."