Happy New Year from Mullah Omar. They have warned that anyone participating in negotiations will be killed, so by all means, Mr. Baker, let’s call for more negotiations. By Saeed Ali Achakzai for Reuters, :
SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan (Reuters) – The Taliban will step up attacks on foreign troops in Afghanistan this year and kill anyone who negotiates with the government, a top rebel commander said on Tuesday.
Taliban fighters staged a surprise comeback last year with the bloodiest violence since U.S.-led troops forced them from power in 2001. More than 4,000 people were killed on both sides in 2006 including nearly 170 foreign troops.
Taliban commander Mullah Dadullah said the new year would see more attacks on NATO and U.S. forces.
“Suicide and guerrilla attacks on NATO, American and coalition forces will continue and increase this year. The Taliban will inflict heavy casualties on them,” Dadullah told Reuters by satellite telephone from an undisclosed location….
“Those who negotiate in the name of the Taliban will be killed,” he said. He did not elaborate.
The government has a reconciliation program aimed at persuading Taliban members to give up their fight and rejoin society but few insurgents have taken up the offer.
Some Afghan politicians have said peace will be impossible unless elements of the Taliban are included in talks.
A Taliban spokesman said last month the rebels might take part in planned tribal councils that Pakistan and Afghanistan aim to hold on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border.
But other Taliban members quickly denied there was any chance of the insurgents attending the councils. Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar was reported to have denounced the proposed meetings as an American trick in a message last week.