Elusive Mullah Omar ready to talk peace with US

Kabul : The elusive Afghan Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, who had called on his warriors last November to continue the war against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, has now confirmed having opened peace talks with the US authorities, Geo News reported.

The one-eyed Omar, who has escaped the US manhunt since his regime was ousted in late 2001, made two demands — release of Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo Bay detention facility and complete pullout of US-led forces from Afghanistan, the report added.

The US State Department, however, said that no decision has yet been made on releasing the Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison.

“A total of 1,462 Afghan civilians had been killed in the first half of 2011, up 15 percent over the same period in 2010,” the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in mid-year report released in July, 2011.

Last year, in mid-December, a Dawn news report said US officials confirmed that they had held talks recently with Taliban representatives in Qatar and Germany. The US also supported the step of opening a political office by Taliban in Qatar, which would serve as an outpost for the outlawed insurgent movement.

Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban movement, has been in hiding since 2001 when the US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled his Islamist fundamentalist regime.

The US officials earlier claimed that Mullah Omar was one of the original planners of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, it added.

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