Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, wants to talk with NATO, according to a message received by the alliance through mediators. Four-star general Egon Ramms made the disclosure on Thursday in front of a group of international journalists at ‘Castlegate’, the underground command center of NATO’s Joint Forces Command Brunssum. According to general Ramms, who oversees NATO’s operations in Afghanistan, the message was transmitted by Afghans that live in Germany but regulary visit their home country.
General Ramms said he had passed the reported overture to ISAF Headquarters in Kabul. He added that possible talks about reconciliation were not a task for NATO, but for the Afghan government. NATO could assist, however, with the reintegration into society of former Taliban fighters who seek a return to normal life.
The NATO official told Radio Netherlands that so far, no country had been found to replace the Netherlands as lead nation in the province of Uruzgan next year, and that time was now pressing. The Dutch government has yet to make a decision on whether to continue its current NATO mission in the Afghan province after the 1st of August next year, when it is due to end. According to General Ramms, Australia (which has a sizable troop presence in Uruzgan) has said it is not willing to take the lead over ISAF operations in the province.
Listen to an interview with General Egon Ramms: