Sunday, March 1, 2009

Secret talks with Taliban under way

Al Jazeera

Secret negotiations are under way to bring troops fighting alongside the Taliban into Afghanistan's political process, Al Jazeera has learned. The talks, between Taliban-linked mediators, Western officials and the Afghan government, are believed to involve a proposal for the return to Afghanistan of Gulbaldin Hekmatyar, the country's former prime minister, who has been in hiding for seven years. Hekmatyar, the leader of the Hezb-i-Islami forces fighting alongside the Taliban and labelled a "terrorist organisation" by the United States, would be allowed to return to Afghanistan with immunity from prosecution, according to information revealed to Al Jazeera. Hekmatyar, who is believed to be in the northwest tribal region of Pakistan, would first be offered asylum in Saudi Arabia, under the proposal being backed by the British government.

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