Karzai Holds Peace Talks With Insurgents

Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai has held talks with the country's second largest militant group, in an unprecedented step towards peace. Mr Karzai has met representatives of Hezb-e-Islami, the Afghan militant group second only to the Taliban, in his first confirmed direct talks with militants. Hezb-i-Islami spokesman Haroun Zarghoun said it was the first time the group had sent senior envoys to Kabul for talks. Mr Karzai's spokesman Waheed Omer confirmed the militants gave the president a 15-point plan for possible peace talks. "The main point of the plan is the withdrawal of all foreign forces from July this year, and that this is to be completed within six months," Mr Zarghoun said by Pakistan-based mobile phone. The plan also calls for the current government to serve for six months and then stand down for elections to be held next year.