Taliban threatens to kill anyone taking up Afghan Govt's peace talks offer

Kabul, Oct 7 (ANI): Amid reports of Afghan reconciliation talks with insurgents in a bid to end the war now in its tenth year, scribbled notes from Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar have surfaced in mosques all over Afghanistan's ethnic Pashtun heartland, threatening death to anyone who takes up the government offer to negotiate for peace, according to a longtime Taliban member.

Trying to quash rumours of a break in their ranks, the Taliban also have vehemently denied reports that representatives of the militant group were involved in negotiations with the Afghan government, The News reported.

"None of the big Taliban is talking," said a veteran Taliban member, who recently visited the powerful shura in the Pakistani city of Quetta, adding, "I have been to Quetta and I know the council there is not talking."

In an interview with a foreign news agency, he said the handwritten scribbled notes started appearing in mosques shortly after news of Karzai's peace overtures was broadcast across the country. In the past too, Mullah Omar had used notes and sometimes, audio recordings to get his message across.

"We heard it on the radio," the Taliban member said of the reports of contacts between the Taliban and the Karzai government.

The Taliban leadership could be worried that commanders might strike separate deals, which would threaten to undermine the insurgency and cripple the morale of their rank-and-file fighters, the paper said.

However, even if the top Taliban leadership have not participated so far, a number of exploratory talks have taken place with the militants over the past two years, according to lawmakers, peace council delegates and former and current members of the Taliban.

According to peace council members, those who have held talks with the Afghan government officials include Maulvi Abdul Kabir, the former Taliban governor of Nangarhar province; Aga Jan Mohtasim, a former Taliban finance minister and current member of the Taliban council in Pakistan's North Waziristan area; Maulvi Akhtar Mansoor, a former Taliban minister of civil aviation; Qatradullah Jamal, a former Taliban information minister; and Tayyab Agha, a special assistant to Omar. (ANI)

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