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Afghanistan's Karzai quits talks with Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai has given up trying to talk to the Taliban, saying in a video released Saturday that Pakistan holds the only key to making peace with insurgents and must do more to support a political resolution to the war.

Karzai revealed his tougher stance against Pakistan, which he claims is harboring militants, on the same day that the Afghan intelligence service said it has evidence that the assassination of former President Burhanuddin Rabbani on Sept. 20 was planned on the southern outskirts of Quetta, the Pakistani city where key Taliban leaders are based. Rabbani was chairman of the government's peace council.

Interior Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi went even further, stating in an Afghan parliamentary session Saturday that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency was involved in Rabbani's killing — an allegation Pakistan has denied.

Critics have also accused the Pakistani government of protecting Taliban leaders to maintain good relations with the group in anticipation of Western forces' eventual withdrawal — an allegation also denied by Pakistan.

Addressing a public rally on Saturday in his hometown of Multan, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani offered to share intelligence on Rabbani's assassination and said his nation was ready to hold talks with anyone interested in peace.

Most of the Taliban leadership is thought to be living in Pakistan, and its governing council, the Quetta Shura, is named after the Pakistani city.

Calling Karzai his brother and friend, Gilani said: "He has some misunderstanding on the assassination of Professor Rabbani."

Afghanistan's Karzai quits talks with Taliban 10/01/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 1, 2011 8:45pm]
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