Afghan Taliban deny meeting with UN official

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

The UN in hasnot confirmed the meeting between the Taliban and the world body's local chief,Norwegian diplomat Kai Eide.

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

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

Afghan President Hamid Karzai tolda conference on in onThursday that he would offer jobs and homes to Taliban fighters willing torenounce violence and would reach out to leaders of the hardline Islamicmovement.