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U.S. Envoy Says Senior Taliban Take Up Amnesty Offer

14 February 2005 -- The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan said today that some senior Taliban members have taken up an amnesty offer made last year by the Afghan government.

The ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, declined to give numbers or the names of those he said had abandoned their support for the Islamist insurgency but said he was "very pleased" with the progress.

Khalilzad told a news conference that some "big news could hopefully be expected in coming days," but declined to elaborate, saying this was a matter for the Afghan government.

Government spokesman Jawed Ludin said he could confirm the veracity of Khalilzad's statement but was unable to give details. Interior Ministry officials said they had no information.