Taliban leader Omar can run for presidency: Karzai

Taliban leader Omar can run for presidency: Karzai
# 02 April 2013 21:45 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar can run or the upcoming presidential elections, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"The Afghan constitution is valid for all Afghans and the Taliban should also benefit from it," Karzai told the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

He made the comments days after his return from a two-day state visit to Persian Gulf state of Qatar, during which he discussed with the Qatari leaders the opening of a Taliban office to conduct negotiations.

The Taliban insurgent group, fighting Afghan and the NATO-led forces stationed in the country, had in the past rejected the government's offers for talks, saying there will be no dialogue in the presence of foreign forces in the country.

The third presidential elections since the fall of Taliban in late 2001, is secluded for early April next year.

However, some local observers have raised concerns that the election process would face huge challenges in the post-Taliban country as the country's election commission officials warned if Afghan and NATO-led forces fail to secure thousands of polling centers across the country the commission would not put ballot boxed there. Taliban had in the past rejected the elections as a plot by the foreigners to keep the Afghan government in the power.

Currently there are about 100,000 NATO-led forces, with nearly 66,000 of them Americans, stationed in the country to stop the Taliban from returning to power. The foreign combat troops are set to leave the country by the end of next year.

Since the mid-2011, Afghan forces have taken over the security of areas where about 75 percent of the population lives. However, the Afghan government has announced that it hopes to complete the process in 2013, one year earlier than agreed with the U.S. and NATO forces.

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