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Afghanistan's Taliban Reject Offer for Peace Talks


Taliban militants on Monday rejected an offer to hold peace talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, saying there can be no talks while foreign troops are in the country.

On Sunday, Mr. Karzai offered to provide security for the Taliban's reclusive leader, Mullah Omar, even if it means defying Afghanistan's international partners.

The Afghan leader suggested that if the United States and other nations disagree, they can remove him or leave the country.

Mr. Karzai has long supported talks with any Taliban faction that accepts the Afghan constitution and renounces al-Qaida.

In Washington, officials at both the White House and State Department said political reconciliation in Afghanistan is desirable, but that there is no sign the Taliban is ready to turn away from violence.

In other news Monday, at least seven people were killed in two separate bomb attacks in southern Kandahar province.

Local officials say two police officers and a civilian were killed, and at least two other policemen wounded, in a suicide attack at the entrance to a government office in Dand district.

In Kandahar's Panjwayi district, a bomb explosion near an Afghan Army patrol killed four civilians and wounded eight others.

No one has claimed responsibility for either attack.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.


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