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U.S. Says Some Taliban Interested In Amnesty

8 December 2004 -- The U.S.-led military in Afghanistan says some elements of the neo-Taliban have contacted it following an offer of amnesty if they surrender their weapons.

U.S. Major Mark McCann told a news conference in Kabul today that neo-Taliban fighters have expressed a desire to join the political process in their country.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad recently urged Taliban-linked insurgents to lay down their arms in return for an amnesty.

Former transitional leader Hamid Karzai was sworn in yesterday as the country's first-ever directly elected president on a platform of improving security in Afghanistan, among other policies. Karzai won 55 percent of the vote in presidential voting on 9 October, and is expected soon to name a cabinet.

The country is currently preparing for landmark national and local elections that are tentatively slated for April.


[For background, news, and analysis of the Afghan presidential and parliamentary elections, see RFE/RL and Radio Free Afghanistan's dedicated "Afghanistan Votes 2004-05" webpage.]