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Britain denies secret talks with Taliban

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Jan 11, IRNA -- The visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has rejected reports about his secret talks with the Afghan Taliban leadership, saying the United Kingdom never held such negotiations with the Taliban or any other militant group.

However, Miliband confirmed news that Afghan officials were making efforts to engage the Taliban in dialogue.

Talking to a group of reporters in Islamabad, the British foreign secretary said he had never claimed Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was in hiding in Pakistan, “but the Al Qaeda leader was also not in Afghanistan”.

He said there was a lot of difference between the Taliban and the Al Qaeda, as the Taliban had no global agenda. “On the other hand, Al Qaeda was created in the backdrop of the Arab-Israel war,” he added.
He also cited the importance of Pakistan in the region and said it had a pivotal role to play in bringing normalcy to Afghanistan.

He described Taliban Chief Mullah Omar as a criminal and said he has carried out actions against humanity.

Commenting on the Tribal Areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Miliband said Al Qaeda had vacated Afghanistan completely.

Miliband said the enemies of Pakistan and its Western allies were the same. The British foreign secretary said Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government had to deliver to win the minds and hearts of the Afghans.

To another question, Miliband said his country would not ban the Hizbul Tehrir, as “we do not have any proof against the Hizbul Tehrir”.

Tehrir is an international extremist group that seeks to unite Muslim countries under a single Islamic state, ruled by Islamic law and with a caliph as its supreme leader.
**1424

End News / IRNA / News Code 889401



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