Taliban denies Afghan peace talks

Media reports of meetings in Riyadh are 'baseless propoganda', Mullah Omar says.

    This year has been the bloodiest since the US-led invasion forced out the Taliban [File: Reuters]

    Omar said he had "not received any letter" from Hamid Karzai, the Afghan
    president, or from the Saudis about any possible talks to end the seven-year conflict which has raged since the Taliban were removed from power by a US-led invasion.
     
    Karzai said last month he would go to "any length" to protect Omar in
    exchange for peace, even if that meant defying Kabul's international partners.
     
    Terms for peace
     
    The Afghan president has for years pushed for peace talks with the Taliban as a way to end the violence, which this year has been the bloodiest since the invasion in 2001.

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    However, he has always insisted that his government would only consider talks with "Afghan Taliban" who do not have ties with al-Qaeda, agree to lay down their weapons and accept the country's constitution.
     
    The Taliban, who were driven from government for sheltering al-Qaeda after the September 2001 attacks, have said they would only agree to negotiations if the 70,000 foreign troops supporting the government pull out.
     
    Omar, who led the Taliban regime, has been in hiding since it was ousted. The US has offered up to $10m for information leading to his capture.
     
    About 70,000 foreign troops, 32,000 of them American, are struggling against
    the Taliban, whose influence and attacks are spreading in the south, east and
    west.
     
    Washington plans to send between 20,000 to 30,000 extra soldiers to Afghanistan by next summer.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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