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Updated: November 27, 2009 15:47 IST

Karzai renews call on Taliban to lay down arms

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The Hindu

President Hamid Karzai has renewed his call to the Taliban to lay down its weapons and participate in rebuilding Afghanistan.

Mr. Karzai’s appeal to the extremist group comes two days after the reclusive Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, issued a statement ruling out talks with the president and calling on Afghans to break off relations with his “stooge” administration.

The president made the call in a message Friday marking the Muslim holiday of Eid. He said all those “who stand armed against their country,” including the militant Islamic faction Hezb-e-Islami led by warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, should help rebuild Afghanistan.

Mr. Karzai also reiterated a call to his main rival in the presidential election, Abdullah Abdullah, to join in helping the country.

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