18 Nov 2008

Taliban reject offer of safe passage

8:16 am on 18 November 2008

A Taliban leader has rejected an offer from Afghan President Hamid Karzai of safe passage for insurgent leaders who want to talk peace.

Mr Karzai said on Sunday he would guarantee the safety of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar if he was prepared to negotiate.

However, the Taliban has ruled out any talks as long as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan.

Deputy leader Mullah Brother on Monday rejected the offer of safe passage and again said foreign troops had to leave before negotiations could start.

Some 70,000 foreign troops, are stationed in Afghanistan. However, attacks by the Taliban, who were overthrown seven years ago, are spreading in the south, east and west.

A presidential election is due next year.