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Bush, Karzai Rule Out Negotiations with Taliban

Posted August. 07, 2007 05:45,   


U.S. President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who held a summit on Monday at Camp David in Maryland, discussed the security issues of Afghanistan and counter-terrorism measures, amid rising calls for the U.S.’ involvement in resolving the Korean hostage crisis.

Although the details of the talks were not disclosed, Karzai reconfirmed his original positing of rejecting the Taliban’s demands. “We cannot accept the hostage- prisoner swap deal by the Taliban,” Karzai said on Sunday in an interview with CNN.

When asked whether he was willing to negotiate directly with the Taliban on Late Edition, a current affairs program of CNN, he answered, “I’ll make all my efforts to free the Korean hostages, but I will never do anything that encourages kidnapping and terror activities.”

The Afghan government has also been strongly opposed to the swap, saying, “The release of the Taliban inmates may turn kidnapping into an industry.”

However, when asked about the possibility of a military operation to rescue the hostages, Karzai said, “We have ruled out measures that may harm the safe release of the Korean hostages.”

In this regard, purported Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi pressured the two leaders. “The lives of the 21 remaining hostages are in the hand of the Afghan and the U.S. presidents,” Ahmadi was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

“Whatever happens to the hostages, it will be the responsibility of Karzai and Bush. And we’ll continue to kidnap foreigners in the future,” Ahmadi added.

Meanwhile, medicine worth $2,000, including antibiotics, anodynes, respiratory disease treatments, vitamins, and first aid kits, was delivered to the Taliban at dawn Monday, according to sources.