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Karzai Sees 'Serious' Taliban Debate Over Disarming

President Hamid Karzai (file photo) (epa) KABUL, September 30, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office says there is "serious debate" among some Taliban fighters about laying down arms.

"The information we have received from tribal elders indicate that different groups operating inside Afghanistan under the Taliban name are discussing this issue seriously," Karzai spokesman Humayun Hamidzada told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan today. "In this case, we don't expect huge developments in the very near future, but we hope those who want peace and stability in Afghanistan will come step by step to join the ongoing peaceful process."

Karzai recently said he would be willing to meet with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and give militants a position in government in exchange for peace.

Karzai spokesman Hamidzada said today that the militants would also have to accept Afghanistan's constitution, which was approved early in 2004.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yosuf Ahmadi, was quoted as saying the militia will "never" negotiate with Afghan authorities as long as U.S. and NATO forces remain in the country.

A suicide attack that was blamed on the Taliban killed 30 people, most of them army troops, in Kabul on September 29.

(with additional agency reporting)

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

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