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Afghan President Calls for Reconciliation with Taliban

Hamid Karzai has renewed his call during a news conference in Kabul Sunday

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has renewed his call for Taliban militants to stop fighting his government and accept Afghan law.

During a news conference in Kabul Sunday, Mr. Karzai urged Taliban members to work for peace.

The president spoke three days after he and Western allies agreed to a comprehensive program aimed at providing former Taliban fighters with jobs and housing in exchange for renouncing extremism.

Mr. Karzai said he will soon convene a council of elders, or a loya jirga, to discuss reconciliation efforts.

He said the reconciliation offer does not extend to members of al-Qaida.

The Taliban has always said the withdrawal of international troops is a precondition for any talks. The president said that demand is unrealistic.

He said the United States and NATO are in Afghanistan to fight terrorism, and will continue to do so until they reach their objective.

In other news, Afghan army officials say two Afghan soldiers were killed and three wounded after a roadside bomb struck their vehicle in the Chora district of Uruzgan province late Saturday.