Afghan president urges Taliban not to burn schools

Associated Press
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is seen during a graduation ceremony of Afghan military officers at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, March 22, 2011. President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that his security forces will soon take charge of securing seven areas around Afghanistan, the first step toward his goal of having Afghan police and soldiers protecting the entire nation by the end of 2014. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

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Afghanistan's president is again inviting the Taliban to join peace talks and pleading with them to stop attacking and burning schools in the war-torn country.

Hamid Karzai marked the first working day following the Afghan New Year holidays with an occasionally emotional speech at Amani High School in Kabul on Wednesday. He says education is key to rebuilding Afghan society.

Karzai also warned the Taliban that the Afghans are not scared of insurgent guns and bombs, and asked them to stop burning down schools.

The Afghan government and its international partners have in recent weeks been avidly pursuing peace talks with the Taliban, but it is still unclear whether the rebels are willing to engage in such a process.

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