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Pakistan army has contacts with Taliban leaders: Abbas

Pakistan army has contacts with Taliban leaders: Abbas

Author: PTI
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: July 11, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/188449/Pakistan-army-has-contacts-with-Taliban-leaders-Abbas.html

The Pakistan army has admitted that it is in contact with Afghan Taliban leaders, including Mullah Mohammad Omar, and can bring them to the negotiating table with the US if its concerns with India are addressed.

Pakistan's chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas has been quoted by CNN in an interview as saying that the military is still in contact with Taliban commanders like Mullah Omar, Jalalladin Haqqani, Mullah Nazir and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar of the Hizb-e-Islami.

Within hours of CNN airing the report on , the Inter-Services Public Relations issued a denial, saying the remarks attributed to Abbas were "totally baseless, fabricated and unfounded as well as out of context".

"No intelligence organisation in the world shuts its last door on any other organisation. So therefore, the contacts are there. The communication remains," CNN quoted Abbas as saying in the interview.

Abbas said in return for any role as a broker between the US and the Taliban, Pakistan wants concessions from Washington over Islamabad's concerns with long-time rival India, the channel reported.

It claimed that senior US officials had told the channel that President Barack Obama's administration is "willing both to talk to top Taliban leaders and to raise some of Pakistan's concerns with India".

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