Taliban leaders open to talks

I just wonder whether these are splinter groups or the main leaders of the insurgency. I doubt that the main group will negotiate unless there is some agreement that the foreign troops withdraw but who knows what sort of deal Karzai and they might be cooking up. What is so laughable about all this is that the Canadian and other western governments always cry out against negotiating with terrorists while Karzai is willing to take them into his government. Anyway it is probably a step up from some of the warlords that are already part of his government.
The Karzai government is already influenced considerably by Islamists even to the point of resurrecting a ministry of vice and virtue.

Taliban leaders open to talks

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


This is from the canoe site.


KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that his government has had increasing contact with Taliban insurgents this year, including several talks this week with militant leaders living in exile.

Karzai said militants in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan have increasingly approached the government in the last eight months, even as the country goes through its most violent phase since the ouster of the Taliban after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

"Only this week I've had more than five or six major contacts, approaches, by the leadership of the Taliban trying to find out if they can come back to Afghanistan," Karzai told reporters in Kabul after meeting NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

Karzai did not specify which leaders he had spoken to or where the discussions took place.

"We are willing to talk. Those of the Taliban who are not part of al-Qaida or the terrorist networks, who do not want to be violent against the Afghan people ... those elements are welcome," he said.

In the past Karzai has offered to hold talks with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and to give militants a position in government in exchange for peace. Omar rejected those offers.

Afghan and Western officials believe many Taliban and al-Qaida leaders are living and organizing militant activities from across the border in the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan. Pakistan denies the allegation and says its doing its best to quell the insurgency.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in insurgency-related violence in 2007, according to an Associated Press count based on figures from Western and Afghan officials.

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