World | Afghanistan

Taliban chief seeks neighbours' help

Fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar called on Afghanistan's neighbours to help his militants oust the government of President Hamid Karzai and force foreign troops out of the country.

  • AP
  • Published: 12:27 October 12, 2007
  • Gulf News

Kabul: Fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Omar called on Afghanistan's neighbours to help his militants oust the government of President Hamid Karzai and force foreign troops out of the country.

Omar's message - the authenticity of which couldn't be immediately confirmed - said "neighbours should help Afghans drive Western forces from Afghanistan as they helped them during the Soviet Union invasion."

"They should abandon any kind of support and understand that they [Western forces] are a danger to the whole region," said Omar's statement, posted on a website that previously carried militant messages. It was unclear when it was posted, though it included greetings for Eid Al Fitr.

Afghanistan is going through its most violent period since the Taliban's ouster in the US-led invasion in 2001.

The Taliban often compare their struggle to the war against the Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, when neighbouring Pakistan and Iran - helped by the United States and Saudi Arabia - armed the anti-communist mujahideen. Some observers accuse rogue elements in Pakistan's security forces of supporting today's Afghan rebels, and US officials recently raised the alarm about Iranian weapons reaching the Taliban.

Islamabad and Tehran deny any involvement.

Karzai has offered peace talks with the militants and positions in the government. But the Taliban and warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Hezb-i-Islami group, have rejected the overtures, saying international troops must first leave the country.

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