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Afghanistan Denies Direct Talks With Arrested Taliban Commander

An Afghan security official stands guard over captured suspected Taliban militants. The government has somestimes used go-betweens to reach out to insurgents.
(RFE/RL) -- Afghanistan's government today denied reports that it held secret, direct peace talks with the Taliban's No. 2 leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, just before he was arrested in Pakistan.

The announcement last month of Baradar's arrest in Karachi by U.S. and Pakistani agents led to numerous unconfirmed media reports the former top Taliban military commander may have been talking to Kabul.

But Waheed Omer, a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, told reporters today "there was no direct contact between the government of Afghanistan and Mullah Baradar."

Karzai has occasionally used go-betweens without official status in preliminary efforts to reach out to militants. Omer said he was not aware of any such unofficial contact with Baradar, but said he was unable to confirm that no go-betweens had been used.

Compiled from agency reports