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Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar vows no power grab

Mullah Mohammed Omar seen in video grab from 2001
Image caption Mullah Omar has made no public appearances or speeches since fleeing Afghanistan in 2001

Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar has said that his fighters will not seek to monopolise power when foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan next year.

In a speech marking the Muslim festival of Eid, he said the Taliban will try to reach an understanding with the Afghan people for "an inclusive government based on Islamic principles".

Mullah Omar also reiterated his disdain for elections, scheduled for next year.

He has been in hiding since 2001 and has a $10m (£6.5m) bounty on his head.

The BBC's Karen Allen in Kabul says that Mullah Omar's statement has been described as "genuine" by analysts.

In it, Mullah Omar said: "As to the deceiving drama under the name of elections 2014, our pious people will not tire themselves out, nor will they participate in it.

He said selection in the polls, "de facto, takes place in Washington... participation in such elections is only a waste of time, nothing more".

The elections are being seen as a key test of Afghanistan's progress since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, says our correspondent.

The Taliban in previous elections have called on Afghans to boycott voting, deploying fighters to block roads to polling stations and targeting candidates and activists.

Mullah Omar has relayed a message to the Afghan people annually for several years in the days before Eid al-Fitr, a three-day Islamic holiday celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Correspondents say that while it is commonly believed that he lives in Pakistan, he has made no public appearances or speeches since fleeing Afghanistan in 2001 when US-led forces toppled the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks in the US.

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