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NATO chief favours negotiations with Taliban

world Updated: Aug 01, 2009 16:41 IST

The new head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) spoke out in favour of negotiations with the radical Islamist Taliban in Afghanistan, Danish media reported on Saturday.

In an interview published in the Danish newspaper Politiken, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that there were groups within the Taliban with whom it was possible to speak and create reconciliation in Afghanistan.

He added however that it was also clear that there was a hard core within the Taliban that only respected military force and with whom there was no possibility of agreement.

The former Danish prime minister backed calls by - among others - British Foreign Minister David Miliband, who demanded direct talks with certain Taliban groups in Afghanistan following the NATO's summer offensive.

Rasmussen also said in the interview that another objective was the agreement between NATO and the European Union (EU) on cooperation between the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and EU-led police contingent there.

Rasmussen officially replaces the Netherlands' Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as NATO secretary general Saturday, with Monday being his first day on the job in Brussels.