Hamid Karzai invites Mullah Omar for talks | world | Hindustan Times
  • Friday, Jul 20, 2018
  •   °C  
Today in New Delhi, India
Jul 20, 2018-Friday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Hamid Karzai invites Mullah Omar for talks

President Hamid Karzai on Sunday invited Taliban leader Mullah Omar to reconcile with the government, but said he thinks the fugitive won't come out of hiding and that suicide attacks will continue in Afghanistan for "a long time."

world Updated: Jan 09, 2006 02:57 IST

President Hamid Karzai on Sunday invited Taliban leader Mullah Omar to reconcile with the government, but said he thinks the fugitive won't come out of hiding and that suicide attacks will continue in Afghanistan for "a long time."

But the US-backed leader, in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press at his palace in the capital, Kabul, said a booming drug trade is a greater threat to Afghanistan than terrorism, endangering its very existence as a nation-state.

Omar has been in hiding since US-led forces ousted his fundamentalist Islamic regime four years ago for hosting Osama bin Laden.

He is believed to be leading holdouts in a rebellion against Karzai's government, leaving about 1,600 people dead last year - the most since 2001.

Karzai, who won a five-year term as the war-battered nation's first democratically elected leader in 2004, invited all Afghans, "Taliban or non-Taliban," to help rebuild the country, and said that includes Omar.

"If he wants to come, he should get in touch with us," the president said.

"We would see what he has to say, of course," Karzai said. "But I don't think he will come. He has so much on his hands against Afghanistan. We don't even know as to where he is hiding. He has to first give us an account as to what he's done."

US officials have said they believe Omar and bin Laden are hiding in rugged mountains on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.