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Afghan Opposition Wants International Crisis Meeting

KABUL -- Afghanistan is going through a critical period and an international meeting including Taliban-led insurgents should be held to ward off crisis, the country's main opposition group said.

Attacks by the Al-Qaeda-backed Taliban have dramatically jumped in the past three years in Afghanistan, with militants appearing to push closer to the capital Kabul in recent months.

The National Front, which is a loose alliance of opposition parties, said insecurity posed a great threat for the country where more than 220,000 foreign and Afghan forces are struggling to defeat the militants.

"We are at a very dangerous point and are in a very fragile state. We are very vulnerable," Fazel Sangcharaki, spokesman for the front, told a news conference.

The group in a meeting recently suggested that an international meeting similar to the one held after U.S.-led troops overthrew the Taliban in 2001, should be held to discuss ways of how to save Afghanistan from further crisis, he said.

The proposed meeting needs to be held under UN auspices.

It will involve Afghanistan's political and armed opposition groups, its immediate neighbors, members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, and members of NATO alliance which runs a separate force from the U.S. military in the war-torn country.

"For saving Afghanistan, for Afghanistan's expedience ... in order to not miss historical and golden chances, Afghans should sit together and have a serious dialogue," Sangcharaki said.

He said the front has already shared its proposal with envoys of foreign countries and their response was positive and it plans to discuss it with President Hamid Karzai, too.

The front, formed two years ago, called for more coordination between foreign and Afghan forces to avoid civilian casualties. It also reiterated that the current strong presidential set up should be changed into a parliamentarian one.