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Mullah Omar must denounce violence, says Karzai

Lalit K Jha in Washington | March 20, 2009 18:48 IST

Setting up conditions for peace talks with the Taliban [Images], Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai [Images] said on Friday that the group's leader Mullah Omar [Images] must talk for peace, accept Afghan constitution and denounce violence.
"He (Mullah Omar) must come up and speak for peace, accept the Afghan constitution, denounce violence, and say
that he's not enemies with the rest of the world, that he wants to co-exist with the rest of the world," Karzai told the
PBS news channel in an interview.
"And then for the United Nations to remove him, once he does that, if the United Nations wants to do that, to remove him off the list of banned Taliban leaders," he said. Karzai's answer was in reference to the recent statement made by US President Barack Obama [Images] in which he spoke about having talks with a section of the Taliban.

"So it has to be a two-way thing," Karzai argued."One is the announcement by President Obama; the next is the responsibility that falls on the Taliban leaders to take this opportunity," he said.
Karzai said he has been asking for this exploratory attitude. "I have asked upon Mullah Omar many, many times to
come out and speak for peace and show his intentions. He has not done that; I hope he will do that," he added. "If he doesn't do that, if he continues not to do that, then, of course, we have the right to seek peace through other elements of the Taliban and by all other means," Karzai said.
He observed that it is very much possible to peel off the moderate element. When asked about the recent announcement of sending additional troops to Afghanistan, Karzai welcomed it but said it is seven years late. Additional troops should have been sent much earlier.

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