Afghan leader appeals to Taliban to lay down guns

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 1, 2010 04:44

 
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KABUL — Afghanistan's president appealed to Taliban fighters to lay down their weapons and accept Afghan laws as the government and its international allies push a program to entice militants away from the insurgency.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai spoke three days after he and Western backers agreed at a conference in London to create a more comprehensive program to bring Taliban insurgents over to the government's side in order to reduce violence that has raged in recent years.

Incentives have existed for years for the Taliban to stop fighting, but these have generally been ineffective, attracting only the lowest-level fighters with no guarantees they wouldn't return to the insurgency or that promised aid would come through.

Karzai stressed he plans to reconcile with Taliban leaders as much as they are willing, but he made clear his offer of reconciliation did not extend to anyone in al-Qaida, saying there was no room in Afghanistan for terrorists.

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