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Former Taliban leaders talk of peace

Former Taliban leaders talk of peace
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks to the media in the East Room of the White House after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on May 12, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- An end of the war in Afghanistan may be in sight but reaching a peaceful settlement with the Taliban is a long way off, former militant leaders said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai rolled out a reintegration and reconciliation plan that called on moderate members of the Taliban to join the political process in exchange for pledges of peace.

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Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, a former member of the Taliban who was once included on a U.N. blacklist, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that peace in Afghanistan required an approach that extended beyond Karzai's ambitions.

"All this depends on what kind of strategy is formed to achieve peace, what steps are taken to build trust (among the warring sides) and how much the foreigners (international community) back such steps," he was quoted as saying.

He said the Taliban should establish a foreign office in a neutral country to set up a venue where mediators can broker negotiations between the ultra-conservative group and the Afghan government.

Other former militant commanders who spoke with RFE/RL said the United Nations needed to remove more key commanders from the so-called 1267 list of sanctioned Taliban leaders.

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Karzai is pushing ahead with his plans using a 70-member committee led by former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said this week that it formed the so-called Salaam Support Group to help Rabbani's peace council carry out its work.

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