Posted by: amirkodi | December 23, 2008

Taliban leader Omar denies talks

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Mullah Omar has regularly warned

foreign forces to leave the country

Taleban leader Mullah Omar has denied there are any talks under way to end the insurgency in Afghanistan, a statement from the organisation says.

He rejected reports he had written to the king of Saudi Arabia or the Afghan government about ending the conflict, the statement in his name said.

He said reports that Taleban and Afghan officials had met were part of a propaganda campaign.

In an earlier statement Mullah Omar again warned foreign forces to leave.

‘Baseless’

The latest statement is Mullah Omar’s first public comment on the issue of negotiations.

Recent reports from Iran and the Middle East had said Mullah Omar wrote to the Saudi king suggesting ways of ending the fighting.

In September, former members of the Taleban and Afghan officials were reported to have met at a dinner in Saudi Arabia.

The statement, received by the AFP news agency, read: “The truth is that the Afghanistan Islamic Emirate [Taleban] has had no negotiations in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or anywhere else.

“All of these reports are baseless and nothing but planned propaganda by certain circles.”

Mullah Omar had “not received any letter” from Afghan President Hamid Karzai or the Saudi administration on the issue.

The whereabouts of Mullah Omar are unknown.

Last month Mr Karzai called on his US and Nato allies to set a timeline for an end to the conflict.

He said if Afghans had “no light at the end of the tunnel” they had the right to pursue other options, such as peace negotiations with the Taleban.

Mr Karzai has regularly pushed for negotiations with Taleban members not linked to al-Qaeda who agree to lay down their arms.

The Taleban has also regularly rejected calls for talks, saying the 70,000 foreign troops must leave.

Earlier this month, Mullah Omar warned the “current armed clashes which now number into tens, will spiral up to hundreds”.

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