Afghan Taliban deny meeting with UN official

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 30, 2010 11:27

 
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— The Taliban on Saturday denied reports that their representatives met with a UN official to discuss prospects for peace in , calling them "futile and baseless" rumors.

The UN in has not confirmed the meeting between the Taliban and the world body's local chief, Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide.

But Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Eide, who is leaving his post within weeks, wanted to "get his own conclusion about the mindset of some of the Taliban members."

"The [Taliban] Leadership Council considers this mere futile and baseless rumors," a statement e-mailed to news organizations said of the reported meeting. "The Leadership Council once again emphasizes continuation of Islamic jihad against all invaders as a mean to frustrate these conspiracies."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told a conference on in on Thursday that he would offer jobs and homes to Taliban fighters willing to renounce violence and would reach out to leaders of the hardline Islamic movement.

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