Taliban Ambassador Returns to Pakistan with '\'Ceasefire Plan'\'
Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef said here Friday he had brought a "ceasefire plan" from Taliban leaders to end the US-led bombing of Afghanistan.
Speaking to reporters at the airport here before his departure to Islamabad for talks with Pakistani officials, Zaeef said he had met Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar in recent days.
"I went to Kandahar to discuss with my leader about a ceasefire plan," he said.
"I will go to Islamabad to meet the Pakistanis and after that I will declare in a press conference the purpose of my visit to Kandahar."
Taliban officials however refused to confirm when the press conference would be held or which Pakistani officials the ambassador was due to meet.
The Islamic militia, under heavy US-led military attack for its refusal to hand over alleged terrorist Osama bin Laden, has repeatedly called for negotiations but its appeals have been rejected by Washington.
US President George W. Bush last week offered the Taliban a "second chance" if they extradited bin Laden, blamed for the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, immediately and without conditions.
But there have also been unconfirmed rumours that Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel has been holding secret talks with Pakistani officials over possibilities for bin Laden's handover.
There has also been speculation, repeatedly dismissed by Pakistani and Taliban officials, that Mutawakel may be leading a breakaway group of "moderate" Taliban who want to make a deal with Washington.
Zaeef also denied the rumours Friday, saying there was no split within the ranks of the Taliban.
"There is no rift ... this is all hearsay," he said -- Pakistan, (AFP)
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