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`Mullah Omar didn’t send letter to Obama`

Last Updated: Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 14:44

Kabul: The Afghan Taliban are denying their leader Mullah Omar wrote to President Barack Obama last July.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid describes as "baseless allegations" reports that Omar had sent a letter indicating an interest in talks key to ending the war in Afghanistan.

Mujahid`s statement was e-mailed to media organisations on Saturday.

Current and former US officials said the letter purportedly from Omar was unsigned. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the letter and its contents are part of sensitive diplomacy with a fighting force that still targets US troops.

Two officials said the Obama administration did not directly respond to the letter, although it has broadened contacts with Omar`s emissaries since then.

The message reportedly expressed impatience that the White House had not yet transferred five former senior Taliban officials out of Guantanamo Bay military prison.

US officials have been considering moving the detainees to Afghan custody in the Gulf state of Qatar as one of a series of good-faith measures that, if successful, could lead to talks on Afghanistan`s future between militants and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The accelerating efforts to set such talks in motion are a central part of the Obama administration`s strategy for leaving behind a modicum of stability as it winds down the US combat mission in Afghanistan.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, February 4, 2012 - 14:44
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