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    Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a event in Kabul January 1, 2015. Afghanistan assumed full responsibility for security from departing foreign combat troops on Thursday, a day after Afghan army mortar shells killed at least 20 civilians attending a wedding party in volatile southern Helmand province.

    Taliban's Former Leaders Decline Posts Offered in New Afghan Government

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    Former senior Taliban officials have turned down posts that had been offered to them in the new government due to security deals which the country's new rulers signed which allow international troops to remain in the country following the official withdrawal of combat troops.

    MOSCOW, January 9 (Sputnik) – Former senior Taliban officials have turned down posts which they'd been offered in the new Afghan government, according to a BBC report.

    The offer was made by the new President Ashraf Ghani and was addressed to Mullah Zaeef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, who has been living relatively openly in Kabul for several years, Wakil Muttawakil, the former Taliban foreign minister, and Ghairat Baheer, a close relative of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose forces are allied with the Taliban.

    The ministerial posts offered to Taliban officials concerned rural affairs, the borders, responsibility for collecting customs, and the Hajj, the religious pilgrimage to Mecca.

    The BBC says there have also been negotiations to consider appointing Taliban governors to three southern provinces — Nimruz, Kandahar and Helmand.

    Quoting a source close to the Taliban's leadership, the BBC says the proposal has been turned down because of the security deals signed by the new government, which allowed some international troops to remain in Afghanistan after combat troops left at the end of 2014.

    The Taliban also want changes to the constitution and immunity from prosecution before they would consider entering negotiations on joining the government.

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    government, Taliban, Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan
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