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Taleban warn Obama on troop plans

Taleban militants
Taleban militants want a change in America's Afghan policy

Taleban militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan have given a lukewarm response to the election of Barack Obama as the new US president.

"There is neither joy nor sorrow among our ranks by the election of Barack Obama," Afghan Taleban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi told the BBC.

He also urged Mr Obama not to send more American troops to Afghanistan.

During a visit to Afghanistan in July, Mr Obama said the country should be the main focus of the "war on terror".

Mr Obama had vowed to send more troops to Afghanistan during his election campaign.

"If Mr Obama follows through on his election pledges, we will not be pleased with his election," Mr Ahmadi told the BBC Urdu Service.

"The question is not about a change in the face of the American president, but a change in American policy."

The spokesman was also asked if the Taleban would be willing to hold talks with the new US administration.

"Talks can only be held on the condition that all American and coalition forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan," he said.

'Armed struggle to continue'

The Pakistani Taleban told Mr Obama not to follow the policies of President Bush.

"Till the time American forces leave Afghanistan and Iraq, and till the US pressure on the Pakistan government is maintained, the change in America's leadership will be a meaningless thing," Muslim Khan, a Taleban spokesman, told the BBC.

"If President-elect Barack Obama continues the previous policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the implementation of Islamic law in Pakistan is prevented, then our armed struggle against America will continue."

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