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NATO chief: No plan to "bribe" Taliban

NATO does not intend to bribe Talibanguerrillas to defect to the Afghan government side as a way to end thewar, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday,dismissing concerns over the latest plan to end the country's growinginsurgency.
Fogh Rasmussen's comments came amid a renewed push tomake peace with moderate Taliban insurgents and draw them into thepolitical process. The North Atlantic alliance has strongly backed anAfghan plan to bring the insurgents over to the government's side.
OnWednesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited Saudi Arabia, hopingthe kingdom would help persuade Taliban militants to take part in anegotiated settlement to the war. Saudi Arabia has a uniquerelationship with the Taliban since it was one of the few countries torecognize its regime in Afghanistan before it was ousted in 2001.
Ina post on the alliance's Web site ahead of a two-day meeting of NATOdefense ministers in Istanbul, Fogh Rasmussen said a new $140 milliontrust fund would offer insurgents an alternative to remaining with theTaliban.

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