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Afghan clerics urge talks with Taliban

Calls for negotiations between the government and the Taliban have been mounting as the militant group has stepped up attacks.

March 21, 2009|Associated Press

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — Afghanistan's top Muslim clerics on Friday urged President Hamid Karzai to push ahead with a proposal for talks with the Taliban that would be mediated by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah.

Calls for negotiations between the government and the Taliban have been mounting as the militant group has stepped up attacks in recent years despite efforts to defeat it by Afghan and allied forces.

In the latest violence, international forces killed 34 militants in two days of clashes in the country's volatile south and east, the U.S. military said Friday.

The leaders of Afghanistan's powerful Muslim clerics' council proposed a meeting that would include government and Taliban representatives, other prominent Afghans and representatives of neighboring countries, said Faiz Mohammad, a council member from Kunduz province.

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