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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Taliban Chief Backs Afghan Peace Talks 3/16/2009 1:33 AM ET
(RTTNews) - The supreme leader of the Islamic militant group Taliban is reported to have approved talks aimed at ending the Afghan war, with a top aide taking part in the Saudi-sponsored peace negotiations, media reports say.According to one of the mediators, Abdullah Anas, a former friend of Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, who used to fight in Afghanistan but now lives in London, Mullah Omar has given the green light for talks."A big, big step has happened," he said, adding, "For the first time, there is a language of . . . peace on both sides."An Afghan government negotiator confirmed the contacts with the one-eyed cleric's representatives. "It's extremely sensitive but we have been in contact both with Mullah Omar's direct representatives and commanders from the front line," the negotiator for the Afghan government said.
Meanwhile, the brother of the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who has been attending talks on his behalf, said the U.S. President Barack Obama's statements on the need for negotiations with "moderate Taliban" to bring peace to the region have created enormous optimism."I have been meeting with Taliban for the last five days and I can tell you Obama's words have created enormous optimism," said Qayum Karzai, adding "There is no other way left but talks. All sides know that more fighting is not the way."The security in the war-ravaged nation has worsened over the years despite the United States and Britain pushing more troops in the past two year. by RTT Staff Writer

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