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.

PTI



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

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