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Afghan President Urges Taliban to Join Peace Process

Afghan President Hamid Karzai used his traditional message marking the Eid-al-Fitr Muslim holiday to urge the Taliban to join peace talks with the government.

Speaking at the presidential palace on Friday, Mr. Karzai called on Taliban leader Mullah Omar to bring an end to insurgent violence and join the peace process.

Mullah Omar said in an Eid-al-Fitr message earlier that his fighters were close to victory in driving foreign forces out of Afghanistan.

Mr. Karzai's government began plans this month to open peace talks with the Taliban. He called the creation of the High Peace Council a "significant step" in efforts to finish a war that is nearing the end of its ninth year. The council is to include former members of the Taliban, leading Afghan civilians and women.

The council's formation was approved by Afghan leaders and tribal elders in June. But so far, the Taliban has shown little interest in any peace negotiations.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.