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Opposition Appeals for Talks with Taleban


Opposition forces are now trying to talk the Taleban into surrendering Kandahar without further bloodshed.

"We want the Taleban to come out and join us," said Khalid Peshtoon, spokesman for opposition commander Gul Agha, whose forces are in the southeastern part of Kandahar. "We are not here to fight. We are just here to invite the Taleban members and the leadership to join the peace process of the grand assembly or loya jirga.," he said.

At present, the city is quiet, says Mr. Peshtoon. There is no sign of fighting, as the Taleban consider the offer. Some of them though not the leadership -have either joined the opposition or left for Pakistan. They are free to do either, says Mr. Peshtoon, who adds they have little choice. They can no longer trust the people of Kandahar.

Mr. Peshtoon says the other top opposition commander, Hamid Karzai, is making the same proposal to the Taleban from his position in the northern part of the city.

Mr. Peshtoon is convinced Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden are in the vicinity of Kandahar and will be found, if they do not surrender.

The Pashtun forces in this area of southern Afghanistan are upset with the Northern Alliance, says Mr. Peshtoon. "We have nothing to do with the Northern Alliance," he said. "They were not supposed to enter Kabul. We are strongly opposing that, and we are asking the Northern Alliance to leave Kabul unarmed and as soon as possible."

Mr. Peshtoon says there is no contact with the Northern Alliance, suggesting the troubles that may lie ahead as the different factions that have never worked together try to govern postwar Afghanistan.

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