Mulla Umar refused Karzai's 35,000-govt jobs offer for Taliban fighters

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Islamabad, Nov 16 (ANI): Taliban Supreme leader Mulla Umar has turned down the Afghan government's offer of 35,000 jobs for his fighters, putting an end to all hopes of a breakthrough between them for possible reconciliation.

Top level US, Afghan, Saudi and Pakistani officials have claimed that all efforts to organise the first-ever direct talks between Taliban and the Karzai administration in Saudi Arabia after Hajj have failed and the Taliban have refused to send any delegation to Jeddah, The News reported.

Two months back, Afghan President Hamid Karzai had established a 70-member peace council, which had at least twelve people who were part of the Taliban government from 1996 to 2001. However, Mulla Umar refused to listen to his former associates, who offered 35,000 government jobs to the Taliban fighters on behalf of the Afghan President.

A close associate of Karzai said on the telephone from Kabul: "We are not disappointed, we will try again to establish direct contact with Mulla Umar because we need to sit together to ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan".

Meanwhile, Mulla Omar said in a statement on Monday that reports of peace talks between militants and the Afghan government were "misleading rumours", and dismissed the coalition surge as ineffective.

Omar, who rarely issues public statements, said that the Taliban maintained its aim was solely to drive out foreign forces from Afghanistan.

"Claims of negotiation, flexibility in the stance of the Islamic Emirate (of Afghanistan - the Taliban) are mere baseless propaganda" and a "hollow" smokescreen to mask the US and Nato-led coalition's failures, he said.

"The troops surge made no change in the status quo and never will they be able to turn the tide. The more the war prolongs, the more casualties of your troops increase and the more its economic burden become heavier," Umar added. (ANI)

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