06/06/2007, 00.00
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Kabul gives family body of slain mullah Dadullah

The Presidents office has agreed to exchange the body for four hostages held by the Taleban. Pakistan accuses Kabul of negotiating openly with terrorists.

Kabul (AsiaNews) – The Afghan government has agreed to give the body of a slain Taliban commander to his family in return for the release of five local health workers.


This was disclosed by a Health Ministry spokesman, Abdullah Fahim, who added: “It's their right to have the body of their relative. Now we hope that they will release our workers safe and secure”.


Ministry spokesman Zmarai Bashari, explained that “one from the family of Mullah Dadullah had approached the government for getting his body: the demand was made by militants. In any case we will negotiate with Kandahar elders”. The politician then added that the decision was made by “the President’s office”.


The four hostages – a doctor, two nurses and their driver – were kidnapped weeks ago: the Taliban have declared that they have beheaded one of them, given that the government had failed to meet their requests for the mullah’s body.  


The decision to negotiate with the Taliban has given rise to protests and criticism, both in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan.  An editorial in Islamabad’s Daily Times notes, “Kabul should never have returned to dialogue with the Taliban so soon after the Mastrogiacomo case. It is a sign of weakness which directly counters the efforts of nations committed to fighting the war on terror”.


The same opinion was expressed by the Pakistani writer Ahmed Rashid who in an interview with Spiegel, spoke of the Mastrogiacomo affair as a “brilliant manipulation of the government by the Taliban militia”.


The writer, author of various articles and books on the Afghan situation, went on to criticise the governments will to negotiate with the enemy as expressed by president Karzai: “There is a hardcore leadership and following which is very ideological and which will not tolerate any foreign forces in Afghanistan and will not tolerate Karzai and his government. There is no way that you can negotiate with these people. I think you have to defeat them militarily, kill them, capture them”.


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