Taliban Rejects Karzai Call for Talks

by Jason Ditz, October 03, 2008

Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave an interview on Pakistani television in which he implored Taliban leader Mullah Omar to return to the country and compete in the next presidential election. Karzai promised to be “wholly solely responsible for his safety.”

But top Taliban official Mullah Brother phoned Reuters rejecting the offer “by the Afghan’s puppet and slave President Hamid Karzai.” He insisted that Karzai “only says and does what he is told by America,” and that he was in no position to negotiate. Indeed, the US State Department is still offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of Mullah Omar, so it is unclear how President Karzai planned to guarantee his safety if he were to return to a nation still crawling with US troops.

But perhaps even more interesting is that Mullah Brother was the one who made the satellite phone call. The Mullah is indeed a high ranking official and a close associate of Mullah Omar, but Afghan General Ghulam Muhiddin Ghori claimed that Mullah Brother was killed in Helmand Province over a year ago.

President Karzai’s offer is his nation’s first public reconciliation overture since a story broke earlier this week that the government and the Taliban were engaged in a “wide-ranging peace-process.” The Taliban denied any contact with the Afghan government, insisting the report was a plot to create mistrust.

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