'Taliban chief backs Afghan peace talks'
Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Taliban, has approved the talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan, with a top aide of the one-eyed cleric taking part in the Saudi-sponsored peace negotiations, a news report said.world Updated: Mar 16, 2009 03:00 IST
Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Taliban, has approved the talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan, with a top aide of the one-eyed cleric taking part in the Saudi-sponsored peace negotiations, a news report said on Sunday.
“Mullah Omar has given the green light to talks,” said one of the mediators, Abdullah Anas, a former friend of Osama Bin Laden who used to fight in Afghanistan but now lives in London.
“A big, big step has happened,” Anas was quoted as saying by The Sunday Times today. “For the first time, there is a language of . . . Peace on both sides,” he said.
The security in the restive nation has worsened even as Britain and the US have pushed more troops in the past two years. However, many experts have questioned the wisdom of sending in more troops.
US President Barack Obama recently underlined the need for negotiations with “moderate Taliban” to bring peace to the region.
Obama's new strategy for a war in Afghanistan, which he said Washington was not winning, is to shift more American efforts towards problems in neighbouring Pakistan and to seek some kind of political reconciliation with the vast majority of insurgents in the nation.
One of the negotiators for the Afghan government confirmed the contacts with Mullah Omar’s representatives.
“It’s extremely sensitive but we have been in contact both with Mullah Omar’s direct representatives and commanders from the front line,” the negotiator for the Afghan government said.
First Published: Mar 16, 2009 02:58 IST