Afghan Peace Council to begin work: presidential spokesman

20:39, October 12, 2010      

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The chief spokesman of Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday said that the High Council for Peace set up recently to accelerate the government-backed national reconciliation program to end the protracted war, would formally start its working day on Wednesday.

"The council will formally begin its work tomorrow Wednesday," Waheed Omar told a weekly press conference here.

Regarding the appointment of ex-President Burhanuddin Rabbani as the chairman of the council, Omar said Rabbani was elected by the 70 members of the council and the government had no interference in it.

"It is an independent body aimed at finding the ways and means to negotiate with Afghans who are eager to renounce violence and severe relations with international terrorist groups," Omar added.

Taliban militants previously in a statement described the formation of peace council as a ploy of U.S. to deceive public opinion and downplayed the peace body under Rabbani who fought Taliban in the past as impotent to achieve peace.

Acknowledging informal contacts with the hard-die Taliban militants, Omar said some Taliban leaders with the mediation of tribal elders and religious clerics have been trying to open talks with government.

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