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Taliban aims to improve public relations

Militants urged to avoid killing and robbing civilians under new code of conduct.

Former Taliban fighters are seen at an amnesty ceremony last year.

THE TALIBAN HAS released a new code of conduct which urges its fighters to take more care with civilians. Taliban militants are advised to avoid killing civilians, and to desist from seizing their weapons and money.

The updated code is understood to be part of the Taliban’s efforts to win the Afghan population over to their cause.

However, Taliban fighters are still encouraged to target anyone believed to be working for the Afghan government or international forces.

NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has also issued new guidelines for troops which aim to reduce civilian casualties. The updated “Tactical Directive” for soldiers provides guidance on balancing self-defence and protection against the protection of Afghans.

Earlier this year, the UN blamed the Taliban for most civilian deaths in Afghanistan through suicide attacks and roadside bombings. Forty per cent more civilians were killed last year than in 2008.

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