UN supports peace talks with Taliban.

These talks are less peace talks than ways to divide the Taliban and have some break off to support the Karzai government. The Taliban will not talk unless all foreign troops are withdrawn so they will not participate in talks. There are already some "reformed" Taliban who support the Karzai government. In fact that is what "reformed" seems to mean. They still have all the same radical views about the imposition of Sharia law etc. Even the department of Virtue and Vice has returned.

UN supports peace talks between Afghan government, Taliban
Last Updated: Friday, September 21, 2007 | 11:44 PM ET
The Associated Press
The United Nations would support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban and is prepared to help mediate, a key UN envoy said Friday.

Tom Koenigs of Germany, ahead of a high-level meeting to support the government that will include the United States and Iran, said that negotiations won't produce "a quick result" but are essential.

"We from the United Nations will certainly support peace talks because the insurgency cannot be won over by military means only," he said. "We have to keep the door open for negotiations."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pressed for open talks with the Taliban, and the group initially seemed willing. But Taliban leadership returned with conditions that would kill chances for talks — that U.S. and NATO troops withdraw and Islamic law be re-employed in Afghanistan.

The UN doesn't expect the "hard core" of the Taliban to negotiate, "but there are certainly tribes who are alienated, maybe even by misgovernance, who can be brought back," Koenigs told a news conference.

He said the UN can mediate, for instance, between tribes that are fighting for the government and tribes that are fighting for the Taliban.

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Efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan will be high on the agenda at Sunday's meeting, which will be chaired by Karzai and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and will bring together donor nations, the U.S., NATO countries, Afghanistan's neighbours, the European Union and international lending institutions.

This week, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Afghanistan to almost 40,000 troops in the face of an emboldened insurgency led by the country's former Taliban rulers.

The United States maintains about 13,000 troops in a separate counterinsurgency force.

© The Canadian Press, 2007


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