Taliban commanders hold secret talks with UN envoy in Dubai

Last Updated: Friday, January 29, 2010 - 19:07

London: Senior Taliban commanders have
held secret talks with UN`s special envoy in Dubai to discuss
possible peace terms, as an international conference here gave
the go ahead to President Hamid Karzai to start reconciliation.

Regional commanders of the Taliban`s Quetta Shura are
reported to have met the UN envoy in Afghanistan Kai Eide for
exploratory talks in the Emirate city of Dubai on January 8,
`The Guardian` reported today quoting UN officials.
"They (the Taliban) requested the meeting to explore
avenues for talks. They want protection to come out in
public," the officials said.

It was the first such meeting between the UN and the
active senior members of the Taliban and suggests that peace
efforts have revived since the initial contacts between
emissaries of the Afghan government and the Taiban brokered by
Saudi Arabia broke down last year.

UN sources said the contacts suggest that sections of
the Taliban may be prepared to participate in a UN brokered
deal to end the nine-year-old war.

The officials said the meeting was held at the request
of the Taliban. "The Taliban made overtures to continue peace
talks and the information was shared with the Afghan
government."
The reports of Taliban secret talks with the UN
surfaced as the London Conference approved setting up of a USD
500 million reconciliation fund to win over Taliban commanders
and militants.

However, Taliban in a swift reaction to the London
deliberations said, "attempts by enemy to bribe mujhaeedin by
offering them money and employment to abandon Jihad are futile
and will never succeed."

Officials confirm that there is split in Taliban with
a middle and younger cadre appearing to be ready for
reconciliation with Kabul, and the paper said it was not
immediately clear which section had taken part in the Dubai
meet.

"We believe there are mid-level commanders who are not
averse to rapprochement as they feel that the war is dragging
too long. And there is a section which is opposed to fighting
on behalf of Osama bin Laden`s al-Qaida," the officials said.

The Afghan president has already indicated holding of
Loya Jirga (meeting of tribal elders) in the next few weeks to
put into action his plans to reach out to Talibans.

"We must reach out to all of our countrymen,
especially our disenchanted brothers, who are not part of
al-Qaida or other terror outfits, who are ready to accept the
Afghan constitution."

PTI



First Published: Friday, January 29, 2010 - 19:07

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