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Taliban Dismiss London Conference on Afghanistan


The Taliban are warning that a meeting in London on Thursday will do nothing to help Afghanistan.

A statement posted on a Taliban Web site Wednesday dismissed the one-day international donor conference as a "waste of time."

Ministers from more than 60 countries are expected to discuss ways to defeat the Taliban and stabilize the country. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has also been trying to raise support for his plan to convince Taliban fighters to lay down their arms.

The Karzai plan has already won the backing of some key Western powers, including the United States.

But the Taliban statement said such a plan will fail because Taliban militants will not give up their cause in exchange for financial or economic incentives.

On Tuesday, a United Nations Security Council committee removed five former senior Taliban officials from its international terrorist "blacklist."

A U.N. statement said all five were high-ranking members of the former Taliban government but will no longer be subject to international travel bans, asset freezes and arms embargoes.

The Afghan government has been calling for an easing of U.N. sanctions on Taliban fighters who renounce violence and agree to support the government.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has warned that military action alone cannot stabilize his country.

During a meeting in Berlin Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Karzai said Afghanistan wants to gradually reduce the burden on its international partners.

The United States and other countries have more than 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, with additional forces on the way.

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

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