White House official doubts Taliban claim

Nov. 17, 2008 at 1:05 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Mullah Omar, the Taliban head in Afghanistan, will likely not renounce his group's violent ways under a new proposed deal, a White House official said Monday.

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said he doubted Omar's claim he would limit Taliban violence in Afghanistan as part of a deal with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, CNN reported.

"No one has heard from Mullah Omar in sometime and, given attacks like last week's when some Taliban threw acid on girls going to school, many don't seem to show a willingness to negotiate," the U.S. official said.

"We're not seeing any indication from Mullah Omar that he is ready to renounce violence, break all ties to al-Qaida and support the Afghan government and constitution."

Karzai has vowed to offer protection to Omar if the militant leader agrees to take part in peace talks, CNN said.

The Afghan president paired his offer to the Taliban official with a stern warning to possible international opposition, to remove him from office or leave Afghanistan.

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