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Afghan peace council member contradicts US claims of talks with Taliban

July 24, 2011 - Kabul

A member of the Afghan High Peace Council has said the US has failed to establish any communication with the Taliban hierarchy and no negotiations are going on between the two sides.

President Karzai had set up the High Peace Council in October last year and mandated it to negotiate with the Taliban. Influential politicians and public and religious figures are among the members of the council headed by former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, The Express Tribune reports.

"In an individual capacity, we did have dialogue with the Taliban leaders, but there has been no formal contact with them, thus far," Arsala Rahmani, who was deputy education minister in the Taliban regime was quoted, as saying.

Rahmani, who is a member of the High Peace Council is among a small group of former Taliban who have reconciled and are now pushing their former 'comrades in arms' to do the same.

Rahmani advocates a waiver of restrictions on the Taliban leaders for the success of peace talks.

"We have given the Afghan government a list of Taliban leaders who, we think, should be struck off the terror list," Rahmani said.

An Afghan peace council delegation visited Pakistan earlier this year and held talks with government officials and politicians to seek help in the Afghan peace process.

"We met Pakistani officials and politico-religious leaders to seek their support," Rahmani said.


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