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Karzai urges non-Qaeda Taliban to return

world Updated: Feb 09, 2009 00:51 IST

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on all Taliban not linked to Al Qaeda or terrorism to return home, as part of a process of reconciliation ahead of elections in August.

“This is the right time for me to call for a process of reconciliation,” he said at a major security conference in Munich, southern Germany on Sunday.

“We will invite all those Taliban who are not part of Al Qaeda, who are not part of terrorist networks, who want to return to their country, who want to live by the constitution of Afghanistan and who want to have peace in their country and live a normal life, to participate, to come back to their country.”

Karzai is set to stand again in presidential elections due on August 20, but his popularity has waned amid allegations of government corruption, growing opium production and an ever-more tenacious Taliban-led insurgency.

NATO nations and their partners fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan have given mixed reactions to Karzai's proposals to try to talk to the insurgents, with many rejecting talks with militants who have blood on their hands.

“I would request the international community to back us in this, fully, and be of one view on this, not of divided views on this,” he said.