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Purported Taliban statement refuses Afghan president's offer of talks
Cat : Afghanistan
Date : 2006-10-28 17:49:18                      Reader : 391

finishing them there is not true. In fact Afghan case is a proof of failure of Bush monopole policy away from world community and UN.

Assoicated Press 28/10/2006

Purported Taliban statement refuses Afghan president's offer of talks

By Fisnik Abrashi

KABUL (AP) - Taliban leaders have ruled out talks with President Hamid Karzai's government as long as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan, a purported statement from the hardline militia said Saturday.

On Friday, Karzai told reporters he was ready to negotiate with fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar if he stops receiving support from neighbouring Pakistan - where the Afghan leader alleges Omar is hiding.

Karzai made a similar offer in an interview with The Associated Press in January, telling Omar to "get in touch" if he wanted to talk peace. Fighting in the country has since escalated sharply as a resurgent Taliban has battled NATO and U.S.-led coalition forces in the bloodiest clashes since the hardline regime fell in late 2001.

Over the past two years, hundreds of Taliban supporters, including some senior officials, have reconciled with the government, but there have apparently been no high-level talks with the rebel leadership.

The purported statement from the Taliban, sent by e-mail Saturday to The AP by militant spokesman Muhammad Hanif, dismissed Karzai's latest offer of talks and called his administration a "puppet government."

"We say even today that there is no possibility of any talks when the country is under occupation," the Pashto-language statement said. "Any talks with aggressors would amount to selling the country."

It said the Taliban leadership "has sworn to expel aggressors and would bring puppets to justice."

It wasn't possible to verify the authenticity of the statement sent by Hanif, whose exact ties to the Taliban leadership are unclear.

At a Friday news conference in Kabul, Karzai was asked if he would negotiate with Omar. He said his government was ready to negotiate with anybody in the interests of peace and security in Afghanistan.

"If anybody, including Mullah Mohammed Omar, wants to have negotiations with us, we are ready," Karzai said. "But they should not be under the influence of foreigners," he said, in a clear reference to neighbouring Pakistan.

The whereabouts of Omar - whose government hosted Osama bin Laden - remain a mystery. Karzai told The AP last week that the Taliban leader was hiding in the Pakistani city of Quetta. Pakistan says Omar is in Afghanistan.

The U.S. government has offered a US$10 million bounty for Omar.

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