| GEO World|
| Karzai to invite Taliban to table if wins election|
| Updated at: 1748 PST, Tuesday, August 11, 2009|
KABUL: President Hamid Karzai said if he wins re-election as Afghan president this month he will invite Taliban and other militants to a grand tribal council - but said they would have to lay down their weapons first.
His invitation on Monday came despite the latest, bold militant assault on an Afghan city. At least four Taliban fighters infiltrated the capital of Logar province, just south of Kabul, and fired rocket-propelled grenades at government buildings. Two police and four attackers died in the violence.
Such attacks have deepened fears for the security of the August 20 elections - the second presidential vote since the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001. Insurgents, who have escalated their violent campaign this year, are threatening to sabotage the vote.
Karzai on Monday unveiled his election platform and said if he wins a second term he will invite the Taliban and the Hezb-e-Islami militant faction to lay down their weapons and join him in a grand meeting known as a loya jirga, a revered form of negotiation in Afghanistan's deeply tribal society.
Karzai has repeatedly called for peace talks over the years but never in the form of a loya jirga - the means by which Afghanistan's post-Taliban constitution was approved.
Taliban chief Mullah Omar has said, however, the Taliban won't participate in peace talks until foreign troops leave the country.
On Monday, militants penetrated Pul-i-Alam, about 60km south of Kabul. They fired four RPGs at the Logar provincial governor's compound and two at the police chief's office, said Din Mohammad Darwesh, the governor's spokesperson.