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'Taliban trying to appear as more moderate force ahead of Afghan peace talks'

Kabul, Sun, 29 Jan 2012 ANI

Kabul, Jan 29(ANI): The Taliban has tried to project itself as a more moderate force as it has vowed to forge peaceful ties with neighbouring countries and respect human rights in its recent public statements ahead of the Afghan peace talks, a report has said.


It is however, unclear whether the Taliban's new stance represents a meaningful transformation or conceals its real aims, The Wall Street Journal reports.


It is notable that the Taliban has dropped their earlier demand that all foreign troops must withdraw from Afghanistan before the beginning of pace talks, and set up a representative office in Qatar to facilitate future negotiations.


But US commanders agree that the Taliban still believes it can achieve its aim of seizing Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan after withdrawal of foreign troops in 2014.


But insurgent officials stressed that the future Taliban government would be gentler and wiser than in 1990s.


"As a movement gets older, it becomes more mature, and makes positive changes. During the past Taliban regime the government would make some hasty decisions, but now we are careful and deliberate," a Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said.


He added that it would also try to include all Afghanistan's tribes instead of being dominated by Pashtun clerics, and seek to establish "good coordination" with the international community to target the narcotics trade.


Bu the Taliban's traditional foes, especially among the former Northern Alliance of ethnic Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara militias termed the Taliban's new moderation as 'insidious propaganda designed to weaken the West's resolve in the war' and added that the Taliban has emerged as a more radical group than ever before.


"Wishful thinking has not taken anyone anywhere. The Taliban's views are the same," former Northern Alliance leader Abdullah Abdullah said.


Karzai's government and Western officials, however admit that significant change has occurred in the field of education.


"I don't find them to be as hard as they used to be in the 1990s," Afghanistan Education Minister Farooq Wardak had said.


Some 600 schools that had been shut down because of security concerns were reopened over the past three years, he added.(ANI)


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