Afghan warriors to talk peace despite fighting north of capital

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s warring factions promised Sunday to continue a cease-fire as they opened face-to-face talks in Pakistan aimed at ending the bloody civil war that is devastating the nation.
Negotiators were sequestered for five hours before announcing they would try to honor an existing cease-fire and negotiations would resume on Monday.
The talks, co-sponsored by the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Conference, are expected to continue for three to five days. They — and the latest cease-fire — were brokered by U.S. envoy Bill Richardson during an April 17 visit to the country.
The agenda includes the cease-fire, a prisoner exchange and the formation of a committee of Islamic scholars whose decisions would be binding on both the Taliban religious army and their northern-based opponents.
Afghanistan’s numerous warring factions have signed four separate agreements since the communists were driven out in 1992, but all collapsed within months and fighting resumed.