* From the “poverty breeds terrorism” department:
(Quqnoos)-THE TALIBAN’S former foreign minister, Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, has said the US should release Taliban suspects from Guantanemo prison and unfreeze their assets if the Afghan governemnt is serious about holding peace-talks with the rebel group.
Also on Wednesday, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, denied that his trip to Saudi Arabia was part of an attempt to broker a peace-deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
Zaeef said he travelled to Saudi Arabia at the request of the country’s king.
He visited Mecca, but did not talk about politics with King Abdullah nor did he discuss a possible peace-deal, Zaeef said.
The ex-ambassador, now living in a house in Kabul, said the international community had failed in its commitment to the Afghan people.
He said security and the economy had not improved since Taliban times, nor had poverty been reduced.
But he urged the warring factions to step up to the negotiating table, which he said was the only way of ending violence in the country.
Some parts of the domestic and foreign media have reported that negotiations between the government and the Taliban have already begun to take place, with former Taliban members shuttling backwards and forwards between Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
President Karzai’s spokesman, Humayun Hamidzada, denied any peace-talks had taken place.