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World Briefing / AFGHANISTAN

Ex-envoy for Taliban tells of Saudi talks

October 07, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban's former ambassador to Pakistan, said the hard-line militants sat with Afghan officials and Saudi King Abdullah over an important religious meal in Saudi Arabia late last month. But he denied that the get-together could be construed as peace talks.

A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai declined to comment.

With U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces suffering their deadliest year so far in Afghanistan, the top United Nations envoy, Kai Eide, said the war "has to be won through political means."

He spoke a day after Britain's military commander in Afghanistan said the war couldn't be won. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said that belief was "defeatist."

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