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Karzai calls on Taliban leader to run for presidency
Time:2012-07-14    Source:sina    Views:5326

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has urged fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar to run as a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. The statement came after Karzai signaled readiness to start reconciliation talks with Taliban militants who he said may enter the Afghan government.

Speaking at a press conference in Kabul on Thursday, Karzai called on Omar to lay down arms, return to Afghanistan and start forming a political party there. On July 9, the Afghan president said that Taliban militants should lay down arms and recognize the constitution if they are to hold posts in his administration. It appears that Karzai is seeking to intensify peace talks with the Taliban given that the US-led coalition is due to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan before the end of 2014, analysts say.

June 2012 saw talks in Kyoto between representatives of the Taliban and members of the so-called Afghan Peace Council, an organization that was established by the Karzai administration with the aim of developing possible ties with the opposition. It was declared after the parleys that the Taliban is ready for direct peace talks with official Kabul. Taliban representative Zabiullah Mujahid, for his part, denied information about the Taliban’s readiness to sit down for direct peace talks with the Karzai administration. Moscow-based Afghanistan expert Viktor Korgun says that right now, the Taliban are not interested in the alliance with the current Afghan authorities.

"I think that Mullah Omar is unwilling to become an Afghan leader in the future," Korgun says. "In this regard, Karzai’s latest call is little more than an attempt to drive a wedge between Taliban militants who are reluctant to run for the presidency and compete with secular political leaders based in Kabul. They want to come to power by resorting to the use of force," Korgun says, referring to the Taliban.

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