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Pakistan spy: US should talk to the Taliban's Mullah Omar

To succeed in Afghanistan, the US must negotiate a deal with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, says retired Brigadier Sultan Amir Tarar, a former Pakistan intelligence officer. He trained Mullah Omar to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

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The U.S. must negotiate a political settlement to the Afghanistan war directly with Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar because any bid to split the insurgency through defections will fail, said the Pakistani former intelligence officer who trained the insurgent chief.

Omar is open to such talks, asserted retired Brigadier Sultan Amir Tarar, a former operative of Pakistan's premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI). He is popularly known as Colonel Imam, whose exploits have gained him near-legendary status in central Asia.

"If a sincere message comes from the Americans, these people (the Taliban) are very big-hearted. They will listen. But if you try to divide the Taliban, you'll fail. Anyone who leaves Mullah Omar is no more Taliban. Such people are just trying to deceive," said Tarar, a tall, imposing man with a long gray beard and white turban, in an interview with McClatchy.

His comments came as the U.S. and its NATO allies appear increasingly anxious to find a path toward a political resolution to the more than eight-year-old war whose escalating human and financial costs are fueling growing popular opposition.

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