President Karzai once again calls on Taliban to give up insurgency

08:19, May 25, 2011      

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai once again called on Taliban militants on Tuesday to give up militancy and join peace process.

"Once again I call on all of our countryman who are away from their own country, who have taken up arms and who are waging a militant activity against their own people, the opportunity is there that the Afghan people to give them a chance to return to their homes," Karzai told reporters in a joint press conference with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen here in his fortified palace.

In efforts to end the nearly 10-year war and Taliban-led insurgency, President Karzai set up a 70-member High Council for Peace on September 2010 to accelerate the government-backed national reconciliation with Taliban and associated militants.

However, Taliban militants have repeatedly rejected the offer for talks in the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan. "My message for enemies of Afghanistan is clear, if you continue on the route of violence you will find no victory, only defeat," Rasmussen said in the same press conference adding " Follow the road of peace."

According to Afghan and NATO officials over 1,700 former insurgents have joined the peace and reintegration process since the practice begun last year.

The NATO Secretary-General arrived here on Tuesday in unannounced visit to war-torn country.

Rasmussen said the transition of security responsibility from over 140,000 U.S. and NATO troops to Afghan forces was "on track" and local forces will take over seven areas in July.

The process of handing over of security responsibility will begins this July and runs to 2014.

Source: Xinhua
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