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July 15, 2011 / Reuters / Dawn.com.
A man from an aid-distribution team uses a stick to control a crowd of Afghan women who gather to get relief in Kabul 01 March 2002. – AFP Photo.
KABUL: Afghanistan’s complex and often confusing business of talks with the Taliban took a surprisingly dramatic turn this week when a female lawmaker told a news conference she had recently met the militant group’s leader, Mullah Omar, who agreed to make peace.
Despite questions of credibility, the large turnout to Thursday’s unusual event, which included representatives from Western embassies, highlights the somewhat desperate nature of peace talks as foreign powers look for an exit from the war.
Homa Sultani, a former rights activist and now an MP from Ghazni, a volatile province southwest of Kabul, said she had met the reclusive Omar some 150 km from the capital and that they had wept together after deliberating the country’s plight.
Omar then sat down on Sultani’s headscarf which she had placed on the floor in front of him, she said, before the one-eyed fugitive leader accepted her proposal to act as his lone mediator for peace.
“It wasn’t that Mullah Omar had fallen in love with my eyes or my eyebrows, we seriously engaged in peace talks,” Sultani told the news conference in Kabul on Thursday. Another male MP, Haji Abdul Basir, who was also at the news conference, had witnessed the meeting, Sultani said.
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