President Karzai of Afghanistan has proposed a “Taliban amnesty” whereby Taliban names would be removed from a UN blacklist imposing travel restrictions and asset freezes. “He says his Western allies back his plans for reconciliation with those Taliban members who are not allied with Al Qaeda and who renounce violence. ‘[They should be] welcome to come back to their country, lay down arms and resume life as citizens of Afghanistan, enjoying the privileges and the rights and the guarantees given by the Afghan constitution,’ Mr Karzai said. He will attend a major conference in London on Thursday at which he hopes to win Western support for his plan to offer money and jobs to cajole Taliban fighters into laying down arms. Mr Karzai’s plan had previously met resistance but he says ‘there is more willingness that this can be reconsidered’. He wants to bring low- and mid-level fighters into mainstream society to end the gruelling insurgency. However the leadership of Islamist insurgent groups active in the battered country remains hostile to negotiations. The NATO military commander in Afghanistan, US General Stanley McChrystal, has voiced support for negotiating a truce.”
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