Taliban deny meeting UN envoy for Afghan peace talks
Last Updated: Sunday, January 31, 2010, 18:06
Washington: The Taliban has denied as "baseless rumours" reports that its top leaders had met UN representatives to discuss bringing peace to Afghanistan and vowed to persist in its war "against the invaders."

The denial came in response to news reports that Kai Eide, the outgoing U.N. envoy, held a meeting in Dubai this month with members of the Taliban leadership.

The United Nations has not confirmed that such a meeting took place, although US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Paris on Friday that Eide wanted to draw "his own conclusion about the mind-set of some of the Taliban members."

In a statement, the Taliban leadership council described such a meeting as "mere futile and baseless rumours."

"The Leadership Council once again emphasises continuation of Islamic Jihad against all invaders as a means to frustrate these conspiracies," The Washington Post quoted the statement as saying.

Little is known about the reported talks, including whom Eide, a Norwegian diplomat, met with from the Taliban and what was discussed. Eide visited Dubai this month.

The Post, quoting Western officials in the Afghan capital, Kabul said that the majority of the Taliban leadership, thought to be based in Quetta in Pakistan, remain staunchly opposed to negotiations with coalition forces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has made overtures to the Taliban and this week proposed convening a tribal gathering to jump-start peace talks. The UN Security Council this week lifted sanctions on five former Taliban officials.


First Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010, 18:06

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