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Taliban chief rejects offer of peace talks

October 29, 2006|From Reuters

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — Fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has rejected the latest offer of peace talks by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a rebel spokesman said Saturday.

Instead, Omar, who has a $10-million U.S. bounty on his head, repeated his threat to prosecute Karzai in an Islamic court for the "massacre" of Afghans.

"The Taliban will not negotiate in the presence of foreign forces and will continue their armed jihad under Mullah Omar's leadership until the ouster of foreign forces," Tayyab Agha said by satellite phone from an undisclosed location.

On Friday, Karzai repeated his offer for talks if Taliban leaders met several conditions, including ending support from elements in Pakistan and the involvement of foreign fighters.

NATO's supreme allied commander, U.S. Marine Gen. James L. Jones, said the force did not yet have enough troops, although it was almost there, and appealed for countries to allow more flexibility in deployment.

He also said that early indications were that movement across the Afghan-Pakistani border by rebels had increased, despite recent agreements aimed at halting such crossings.

Some NATO countries, such as Germany, have been criticized for keeping most of their troops in the north while fighting has intensified in the south.

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