Taliban reject Karzai’s talks offer

October 04, 2008

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SPIN BOLDAK, Oct 3: A senior Taliban commander on Friday rejected reconciliation with what he called the “puppet” Afghan government, the latest in a series of pronouncements from both sides on potential peace talks.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said this week he had asked the king of Saudi Arabia to mediate in talks with the insurgents and called upon Taliban leader Mullah Omar to return to his homeland and to make peace.

But Karzai’s plea appeared to have fallen on deaf ears and was rejected by a senior Taliban leader.

“We reject an offer for negotiation by the Afghan’s puppet and slave President Hamid Karzai,” Mullah Brother told Reuters by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location.

He said Karzai had no right to negotiate. “He only says and does what he is told by America.”

It also appears to reverse a statement by Mullah Brother in March in which he said the Taliban could cooperate with the Karzai’s government and called for a negotiated ending to the fighting.

Mullah Brother served as a top military commander when the Taliban were in power in the late 1990s and is now one of the movement’s senior leaders.—Reuters