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Sunday, 22 March 2009

Taliban party?

A top US official says Washington is mulling over bringing the Taliban into the Afghan politics amid escalating insurgency in the country.

"There is room for discussion on the formation of political parties [or] running... for elections. That is very different from shooting your way into power," William Wood, the outgoing US ambassador to Afghanistan, told the Observer on Sunday.

"Insurgencies, like all wars... end when there is an agreement," Wood said, adding that "The key requirement would be respect for the constitution."

The US package also includes allowing the militant group to field candidates in upcoming general election.

Other ideas, such as changing the Afghan constitution and taking senior Taliban figures off UN blacklists, are also being discussed, according to Wood.

The development follows US president Barack Obama's earlier remakes in which he said US forces could hold dialogue with 'moderate' Taliban leaders in a bid to end the insurgency in the region.

However, the insurgents have emphasized that there would be 'no talks' until the US and its western allies withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. More