Afghan President Seeks Peace with Taliban after Suicide Bomb

SEPTEMBER 29, 2007

KABUL, Afghanistan — A Taliban suicide bomber wearing an Afghan army uniform set off a huge explosion Saturday while trying to board a military bus in the capital, killing 30 people, most of them soldiers, officials said.

Hours later, the Afghan president offered to meet personally with the Taliban leader for peace talks and give the militants a position in government.

Strengthening a call for negotiations he has made with increasing frequency the last several weeks, President Hamid Karzai said he was willing to meet with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister and factional warlord leader.

“If I find their address, there is no need for them to come to me, I'll personally go there and get in touch with them,” Mr. Karzai said. “Esteemed Mullah, sir, and esteemed Hekmatyar, sir, why are you destroying the country?”

Mr. Karzai said he has contacts with Taliban militants through tribal elders but that there are no direct and open government communication channels with the fighters. ...


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