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Former Taliban Tout Talks With Afghan Government

20 February 2005 -- Four former Taliban officials, led by the ousted regime's former UN envoy, said today that they had successful reconciliation talks with the internationally backed Afghan government.

Reports from Afghanistan, quoting officials, said the former Taliban officials returned to Pakistan yesterday after a two-week visit to Kabul during which they met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The reports quoted Abdul Hakim Mujahid, the former Taliban ambassador to the United Nations, as saying the talks had been successful.

The other members of the former Taliban delegation were Arsullah Rahmani, a former deputy minister of higher education; Rahmatullah Wahidyar, former deputy minister for refugees; and Habibullah Fawzi, former charge d'affaires at the Afghan Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

A spokesman for President Karzai, Khaliq Ahmad, confirmed the talks had taken place but declined to give details.

Mujahid described his group as uniting moderate Taliban members.