“The U.N. envoy to Afghanistan met delegates from one of the country’s main insurgent groups in Kabul on Thursday, the first Western diplomat to meet them since they arrived in the capital for peace talks with the government.
…It is the first known meeting between a Western official and the group since they arrived in Kabul, and comes weeks before President Hamid Karzai plans a peace “jirga” — or council of elders — to which the Taliban have been invited.
On Wednesday, Hezb-i-Islami negotiator Mohammad Daoud Abedi told Reuters its leadership was ready to make peace and act as a “bridge” to the Taliban if Washington fulfils plans to start pulling out troops next year.
Abedi said the decision to present a peace plan was a direct response to a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama in December, when Obama announced plans to deploy an extra 30,000 U.S. troops but set a mid-2011 target to begin a withdrawal…."
2010-03-27 16:25:34 UTC