Karzai to consult Saudi leaders over Taliban talks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai left for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to seek role from its king to reach out to the Taliban.

Karzai to consult Saudi leaders over Taliban talks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai left for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to seek role from its king to reach out to the Taliban, hoping to launch a peace initiative this year.

Riyadh was one of only three capitals that recognised the Taliban government.

Saudi Arabia has helped arrange contacts between Karzai's government and Taliban representatives in the past and he called on the kingdom for help again at an international conference in London last week.

Casualties among Afghan civilians reached record levels last year in foreign forces attacks.

Western nations, with more than 110,000 troops, occupying Afghanistan for years, have said the war cannot be won militarily and talks will have to be held eventually.

Karzai is expected to hold talks with King Abdullah on "national reconciliation in Afghanistan and in the region" during his visit to Saudi Arabia, the presidential palace in Kabul said in a statement.

Karzai plans to summon a "loya jirga", or grand council of elders and influential figures, in coming weeks as part of a high-profile push to reconcile with the Taliban and other insurgents.

Taliban leaders have demanded all Western forces must withdraw from Afghanistan before they will agree to talks. But, on Sunday, Karzai rejected the demand, saying the Taliban should help make peace first so that the troops can leave.

At last week's conference, donor nations pledged hundreds of millions of dollars from for a fund to buy off insurgent foot soldiers away from the insurgency.

Reuters

 

Related news reports:

Karzai urges Taliban talks without US troops pullout

Karzai seeks Saudi role for Afghan "reconciliation" / PHOTO

Last Mod: 02 Şubat 2010, 13:29
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