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Taliban soften position on beards and burqas: report

world Updated: Apr 02, 2009 22:13 IST

The Taliban, who are known for their obsession with extreme interpretation of the Sharia law, have agreed to soften their position on such things as beards and burqas as part of a trade-off in talks with the Afghan government, a news report said on Thursday.

US President Barack Obama recently underlined the need for negotiations with “moderate Taliban” to bring peace to the restive region. The Afghanistan government has been involved in talks with Taliban representatives aimed at ending the war in country.

According to an earlier report, Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Taliban, has approved the talks, with a top aide of the one-eyed cleric taking part in the Saudi-sponsored peace negotiations.

While in power in Kabul before 2001, the Taliban ran one of the most reviled regimes, with narrow interpretation of Sharia law, enforcing harsh punishments to the violators.

Though a Taliban spokesman has rejected the American offer of negotiations, talks in the early stages between President Hamid Karzai's government and Taliban insurgents appear to have yielded a significant policy shift.

"The Taliban are now prepared to commit themselves to refraining from banning girls' education, beating up taxi drivers for listening to Bollywood music, or measuring the length of mens' beards", The Independent newspaper said, quoting representatives of the Islamist movement.