Taliban Dismiss Afghan Peace Meet Before It Starts

Delegates at the just concluded Afghan peace conference - locally called the jirga - have called on the government to hold talks with the Taliban. They said that talking to the armed group was the war-torn country's best, and possibly last, chance for peace. About 1,500 delegates, representing Afghans across the political and social spectrum, attended the meeting in Kabul's southeastern suburbs. The aim of the jirga was to formulate a plan for Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, to hold reconciliation talks with the Taliban. Shortly after the jirga ended, Karzai initiated his first move, ordering that Taliban fighters being held in Afghan jails on doubtful evidence must be released. But achieving reconciliation seems difficult with Taliban fighters not too keen to negotiate. Many of them say they are winning the war and did not see the need for negotiations.