1 Oct 2011

Afghan President hints talks with Taliban off

9:56 pm on 1 October 2011

The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, says his government will no longer try to hold talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan and will instead focus instead on dialogue with Pakistan in efforts to bring security to the country.

Mr Karzai told a gathering of religious scholars in Kabul that the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, has not responded to the offer for peace negotiations and the Taliban Council could also not be contacted. That left Pakistan as the only option.

Mr Karzai added that the killing of the former Afghan president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, by a suicide bomber purporting to be a Taliban peace emissary, has convinced him who should be at the other side of the negotiating table.

The BBC reports it is the clearest statement since the killing of Mr Rabbani that the Afghan government may abandon its attempts for dialogue with the Taliban.