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Sat Aug 18, 2012 6:9PM
File photo shows Taliban leader Mullah Omar

File photo shows Taliban leader Mullah Omar

Reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar has announced his readiness to hold negotiation with Afghan factions after the pullout of US-led foreign forces from the war-torn country. Describing Taliban as independent national forces in a message issued on the eve Eid al-Fitr, the Taliban leader said the militant group “will make efforts to reach an understanding with the Afghan factions in due time following (the) pullout of the invaders.” He also expressed his intention to establish a government based on Islamic values and principles of Afghan people. This is while US General John Allen, the commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan described the statement as “an unmistakable message of death, hate and hopelessness for the Afghan people,” before Eid al-Fitr celebrations which mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Mullah Omar further noted that Taliban militants have been engaged in the fight with Afghan government and US-led foreign forces over liberation of Afghanistan and enforcement of Sharia law. He stated that previous talks with the US merely revolved around exchange of war prisoners. In March, Taliban halted negotiations with the US over what they called US ambiguous stance. However, the US officials said Washington’s emphasis on the role of Afghanistan government in the talks was the main reason behind Taliban withdrawal from the negotiations. Some 130,000 US-led troops, due to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, are still in the country under the pretext of ‘training and working alongside Afghan soldiers’ for the anti-militancy campaign. The US invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of combating terrorism and toppling the Taliban regime The 2001-present US-led war in Afghanistan, which has caused record-high civilian and military casualties, has become the longest military conflict in the American history. MR/JR
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