Former Taliban See Opening for Talks with Obama, Reports

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Two former high-ranking Taliban insiders encourage talks with Obama Administration in exclusive interview with GlobalPost

The international news web site has gained unique access to two former high-ranking officials of the now-deposed Taliban government to hear their view of the possibility of an opening for dialogue with the U.S. Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, who was the Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan, and Mullah Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil, who served as foreign minister during the Taliban regime, confirmed in separate interviews that such talks were feasible, but that they would need to begin with a fundamental understanding that the view of this conflict looks very different from an Afghan-Taliban perspective. The complete article is available here: Former Taliban see opening for talks.

In a rare interview at his home in a dusty Kabul suburb where he is under house arrest, Zaeef talked with GlobalPost correspondent in Afghanistan Jean MacKenzie. "The United States has a right to guarantee its own security," Zaeef said. "They have a right to ensure that there is no danger to them from Afghanistan."

On March 8, President Obama told The New York Times that he was considering overtures to the "moderate" Taliban, an announcement that spurred a flood of debate on what exactly constitutes a moderate Talib.

Zaeef and Mutawakil say that trying to separate out the moderate from the hardline Taliban is not helpful. "We should be talking about 'Afghan' versus 'non-Afghan' Taliban," Mutawakil said. "If I could advise Obama, that is what I would tell him."

Jean MacKenzie is available for interviews from the field. GlobalPost Executive Editor Charles M. Sennott, who has covered conflicts in the Middle East since 1996 is available for interviews in the U.S.

Based in Boston, is the first solely Web-based news organization to provide international news coverage by its own team of experienced correspondents from every corner of the world. offers a free, content-rich Web site with articles, photography, video and audio from more than 60 correspondents in 40+ countries. Through its print and online syndication platforms as well as an innovative premium membership model called Passport, reports vital international news and provides analysis and context for Americans to measure the impact of international events on their lives in an increasingly interconnected world. is the vision of journalist and media entrepreneur Philip S. Balboni and award-winning foreign correspondent Charles M. Sennott.


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