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Taliban leaders deny meeting with UN envoy

January 31, 2010 20:13 IST

The Taliban has denied as 'baseless rumours' reports that its top leaders had met United Nation's representatives to discuss bringing peace to Afghanistan and vowed to persist in its war 'against the invaders'.

The denial came in response to news reports that Kai Eide, the outgoing UN envoy, held a meeting in Dubai in February with members of the Taliban leadership. The United Nations has not confirmed that such a meeting took place, although United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Paris on Friday that Eide wanted to draw "his own conclusion about the mind-set of some of the Taliban members."

In a statement, the Taliban leadership council described such a meeting as "mere futile and baseless rumours."

"The leadership council once again emphasises the continuation of Islamic Jihad against all invaders as a means to frustrate these conspiracies," The Washington Post quoted a statement by the Taliban as saying.

Little is known about the reported talks, including whom Eide, a Norwegian diplomat, met with from the Taliban and what was discussed.

The Post, quoting Western officials in Kabul, said that the majority of the Taliban leadership, thought to be based in Quetta in Pakistan, remain staunchly opposed to negotiations with coalition forces.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has made overtures to the Taliban and this week proposed convening a tribal gathering to jump-start peace talks. In related developments, the UN Security Council this week lifted sanctions on five former Taliban officials.

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