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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

1,2 and 3 - Syed Saleem Shahzad

1: Last week, Major General Athar Abbas, a spokesman for Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), in an interview with CNN, said that not only is "the Pakistan in contact with Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, but it can bring him and other commanders to the negotiating table with the United States". Abbas said that in return for any role as a broker between the US and the Taliban, Pakistan wanted concessions from Washington over Islamabad's concerns with rival India, which it fears is gaining undue influence in the region.

2: In response, Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said, "There's long been allegations that there are continued contacts [between Pakistan and the Taliban]. And I think it's a step forward for the Pakistanis to say publicly what everyone has always assumed," CNN reported. Holbrooke did not rule out the possibility of talks with the Taliban.

3: Following the grand shura and the military consolidation in Afghanistan, though, Mullah Omar has sent a clear message to Prince Aziz that a military victory is the only option for the Taliban and that nothing can stop the war except a clear defeat of the Western occupation armies in Afghanistan. Perhaps that is why Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations felt obliged to issue a statement that "strongly denied" the remarks made by Abbas "that the Pakistani military is in contact with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and it can bring him and other commanders to the negotiating table".


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