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US told it must hold talks with Taliban’s Mullah Omar

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Isambard Wilkinson
London Telegraph
Wednesday, Sept 24, 2008

The US must broker a power-sharing agreement with the head of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, in order to establish peace in the region, the Governor of Pakistan’s lawless border areas has said.

Owais Ghani, who governs the North West Frontier Province and its adjoining tribal areas, is the most prominent figure to date to publicly advocate holding talks with militant commanders leading the insurgency against coalition forces in Afghanistan.

His thinking reflects that of the conservative hardcore of Pakistan’s military hardliners who are accused by Western intelligence operatives of supporting the Afghan Taliban as a “hedging policy” to maintain influence in Afghanistan.

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“They have to talk to Mullah Omar, certainly – not maybe, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Haqqani group,” Mr Ghani told The Daily Telegraph in an interview in Peshawar.

“The solution, the bottom line, is that political stability will only come to Afghanistan when all political power groups, irrespective of the length of their beard, are given their just due share in the political dispensation in Afghanistan.”

The governor’s remarks are likely to cause controversy among Pakistan’s allies in the US-led “war on terror” and at home where the ruling Pakistan’s People’s Party is opposed to the Taliban.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 10:43 am

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