Saturday, December 29, 2007

German negotiations with Taliban revealed

Germany's leading weekly Der Spiegel will publish a report this weekend which reveals that German intelligence officials have held several secret meetings with Taliban representatives.

German-Taliban rapprochement in limbo after western diplomats' expulsion



The ongoing rapprochement process between Berlin and the radical Afghan Taliban militia remains in limbo following the recent expulsion of two UN and European Union diplomats by the Afghan government, the weekly Der Spiegel said in a report to hit the newsstands on Sunday.

German officials view the sudden expulsion of the UN and EU diplomats as a growing sign of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to confront western governments which are trying to open up political channels with the Taliban.

As part of these efforts, Germany's Ambassador to Afghanistan, Hans-Ulrich Seidt met last September with Taliban's former foreign minister, Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil who stressed "many commonalities" with the German government. ...

Germany's foreign BND intelligence service held secret talks with the Taliban for several months in 2005 aimed at finding out whether the radical Afghan militia was ready to severe its ties with the al-Qaeda terror network. ...

The chancellery was reportedly informed of the secret meetings which took place in various places across Europe, among them at a Swiss luxury hotel.

According to BND, the Taliban sent "mid-level" officials to the talks which were broken off in late summer of 2005 after the Taliban representatives could not prove that they were authorized to negotiate on behalf of their leader Mullah Omar. ... (link)

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