US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has made a blunt new push for a UN-led peace effort in Afghanistan.
In a letter to the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Blinken called for a 90-day reduction in violence and a transitional government formed from both sides, reports the BBC.
Blinken also said no decision had been made about whether to stick to a planned US troop withdrawal by 1 May.
He called on President Ghani to show "urgent leadership".
Blinken's letter, a copy of which was obtained by the obtained by the BBC on Sunday, reflected the difficult position the US finds itself in as it reviews whether to withdraw its last 2,500 troops.
A deal struck with the Taliban during the Trump administration in February 2020 committed the US to withdrawing by 1 May, but Afghan officials fear the move would create enormous security challenges.
Blinken warned in his letter that the Taliban could make "rapid territorial gains" across the country in a "spring offensive".He also proposed a "transitional peace government" to usher the country through this precarious period, followed by national elections, as well as a UN-led peace conference in Turkey attended by foreign ministers and envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and the US.
The BBC's chief international correspondent, Lyse Doucet, describes the letter to President Ghani as "blunt" and as an effort to "step up the pressure" on the Afghan government and the Taliban.
However, the disagreement and distrust between the two sides is still wide and Afghans worry that a deal brokered in haste could quickly break down, our correspondent adds.