Hamid Karzai
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Taliban Behead Four Alleged Spies

Taliban militants have beheaded four men for allegedly spying for the government in southern Afghanistan, an official said Tuesday.

The bodies of the men were discovered in Washer district of volatile Helmand province late on Sunday.

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Saudi Renews Call for Taliban to Renounce Qaida

A senior Saudi official on Saturday called on the Taliban to lay down their arms and renounce al-Qaida as preconditions for Saudi-mediated peace talks with the Afghan government.

"Saudi Arabia's conditions for mediation ... are that the Taliban lay down their weapons, engage in the political process and renounce al-Qaida," the official told Agence France Presse on condition of anonymity.

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Iran Blames Foreign Interference for Region's Problems

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out against foreign interference in the region following talks in Pakistan on Friday designed to help chart a political solution in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called for action rather than words after the three-way summit hosted by President Asif Ali Zardari, as Kabul seeks to enlist Islamabad's assistance in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table.

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Afghan, Iranian Leaders in Pakistan for Summit

Pakistan on Thursday welcomed the leaders of Afghanistan and Iran for a regional summit at a key juncture in peace efforts with the Taliban and amid rising tensions between Tehran and Israel.

Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flew into Islamabad in the afternoon for a formal summit meeting scheduled on Friday to be followed by a joint news conference, Pakistan government officials said.

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Karzai: NATO Airstrike Killed Eight Children

A NATO airstrike killed eight children in Afghanistan's Kapisa province northeast of the capital Kabul, President Hamid Karzai said Thursday.

The president "strongly condemned the aerial bombing by foreign troops that killed a number of children in Nejrab district" on Wednesday, said a statement from his office.

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Pakistan PM to Qatar to Discuss Afghan Peace

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani left for Qatar on Monday to discuss Afghan peace efforts in the ultra-rich Gulf state where the Taliban and U.S. officials have begun preliminary contacts.

"The prime minister reiterated stance of his government to support Afghan-led and Afghan-owned initiatives for a stable Afghanistan," his office quoted him as saying before his departure.

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Pakistan Will do Whatever Kabul Wants for Peace

Pakistan is willing to do whatever the Afghans want to help facilitate an end to 10 years of war with the Taliban, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told reporters on Thursday.

Speaking a day after talks with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul billed as a fence-mending visit designed to ease frosty ties, Pakistan's top diplomat sought to refute perceptions that Islamabad was an obstacle to peace.

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Taliban Deny Plan for Talks with Afghan Government in Saudi Arabia

The Taliban militia leading a 10-year insurgency in Afghanistan on Wednesday denied that they would soon hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government in Saudi Arabia.

"There is no truth in these published reports saying that the delegation of the Islamic Emirate would meet with representatives of the Karzai government in Saudi Arabia in the near future," the Taliban said on their website.

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Sarkozy Meets Karzai: French Troops to Quit Afghanistan End-2013

French troops are to resume their training of Afghan soldiers after a week-long suspension due to a renegade Afghan soldier shooting dead four French troops, President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday.

Sarkozy also said after talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai that French combat troops would complete their withdrawal from the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2013.

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France Pledge to Afghanistan despite Killings

France appeared to lessen the prospect of an early withdrawal from the 10-year war in Afghanistan on Saturday, stressing its commitment to the country after an Afghan soldier killed four of its troops.

Defense Minister Gerard Longuet and Chief of Defense staff Admiral Edouard Guillaud flew into Afghanistan for emergency talks a day after the president threatened to order a swift exit of its 3,600 troops on the ground.

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