Security forces battled insurgents including at least one suicide bomber outside a national peace conference just as President Hamid Karzai opened the three-day meeting Wednesday in the Afghan capital. A NATO spokesman said several insurgents were shot near the venue, and Afghan police said a suicide bomber detonated explosives, killing himself. There were no immediate reports of other casualties in the fighting, including among participants of the conference. The multi-pronged attack started within minutes of Karzai beginning his opening address to some 1,600 dignitaries gathered for the conference, known as a peace jirga, in a huge tent pitched on a university compound in the city.The Taliban, which had earlier threatened to kill anyone who took part, claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to the media. Karzai was hoping that the jirga would bolster him politically by supporting his strategy of offering incentives to individual Taliban fighters and reaching out to the insurgent leadership, despite skepticism in Washington on whether the time is right for an overture to militant leaders. About 10 minutes into his speech, Karzai was briefly interrupted by an explosion outside, which police said was a rocket fired from the west of the Afghan capital. Karzai heard the thud, but dismissed it, telling delegates, "Don't worry.We've heard this kind of thing before."Soon afterward, an AP reporter nearby heard a loud explosion and saw smoke rising from a second apparent rocket attack that struck about 100 meters (yards) from the venue. AP reporters gathered at a hotel near the venue to cover the conference via video link heard bursts of gunfire to the south of the venue. Police officer Kamaluddin said a suicide bomber detonated explosives a few hundred yards (meters) from the tent, and that shooting between insurgents and Afghan forces was being reported. The only reported casualty was the bomber. Security forces were rushing through the area and helicopters were flying overhead. Some insurgents were shot, but reports were unclear as to how many, said a spokesman for international forces in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Joseph T. Breasseale.Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said Wednesday that a group of four suicide attackers disguised in Afghan army uniforms had opened fire in an attempt "to sabotage and destroy this peace jirga."Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashary said Afghan forces were surrounding a house about 500 yards (meters) from the conference venue where militants were apparently holed up. The jirga is expected to end on Friday with a declaration on what steps should be taken to end the insurgency, what groups should be included in the process and how they should be approached. The Taliban Wednesday claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on a landmark gathering in the Afghan capital, where hundreds of delegates are meeting to discuss peace talks. "We have four suicide attackers placed on the top of a tall building near the jirga tent. They are threatening the jirga tent," Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told media by telephone. "They are using rockets, they have small arms and have strapped explosives to their bodies," he said. "Obviously, the jirga will provide yet another pretext for America to continue the war in Afghanistan, rather than bringing about peace in the country," the Taliban said in a statement on the eve of a gathering to which they had not been invited, but would not attend if asked. Their confidence comes despite a surge in U.S. forces that will push the size of the foreign military to around 150,000, with an offensive planned in coming weeks to tackle the Taliban in their southern heartland of Kandahar. Washington is also stressing an accompanying hearts-and-minds operation that it hopes will see better Afghan security and governance put in place. Corruption and incompetence by some officials have caused open friction with Karzai at times. As a result, some diplomats and analysts are paying lip service to the jirga's noble aims while doubting its effectiveness. Competing interests from Pakistan, India, Iran and even Russia further poison the atmosphere. "This is a big week for Afghanistan," said Mark Sedwill, NATO's top diplomat in the country. The man Karzai beat for the presidency last year, Abdullah Abdullah, dismissed the jirga out of hand, although he said he would not call for a boycott. "The outcome of the jirga will not take us anywhere toward peace, even not close to it," Abdullah said. "The agenda is not known to people, the norms are not known, people invited to the jirga do not represent the people. This event sounds to me like a PR exercise." On the other hand Taliban of Afghanistan issued a statement regarding this jirga yesterday and said "Idea for convening so-called National Consultative Jirga basically raised by Halbroke". Statement of Afghan Taliban about Jirga in Kabul The holding of the so-called National Consultative Jirga under the name of peace is a part of the failed efforts of the invading Americans and their surrogates in Afghanistan. The idea for convening of the so-called National Consultative Jirga was basically raised by Richard Halbroke, US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the start of the current year. But the holding of the Jirga was postponed twice due to the security and political problems that the invading Americans in Afghanistan and their stooges are facing. However, now at this juncture of time, when all invaders and their henchmen are writhing under the victorious and lethal strikes of the Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, they have launched drive for convening this phony jirga to provide stuff for consumption by the American and world public but at the mean time, along with peaceful slogans of the jirga, they resound their intent of launching vast offensive against Kandahar. The holding of jirgas is an integral cultural and traditional characteristic of the Afghans. They have solved many of their problems through this prideful institution. However, this is only possible when the jirga is convened by the Afghans, on the wants of their Afghan willpower and is aimed at solving the problems of the Afghans themselves. While paying respect to these prideful traditions of the Muslim and honor-loving Afghan people, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan believes the convening of the so-called consultative jirga in the land of the Afghans, ironically, by the demand and order of the foreigners is a contempt to the historical traditions of the Afghans. Therefore, the Islamic Emirate elucidates its stance versus the convening of the jirga as follows: 1. Afghanistan is under occupation of the foreigners in the present conditions. The participants of the jirga are those who have already been short listed by the Americans and after that, their list has been handed over to the Kabul Administration. Basically, every effort by the invading foreigners including the convening of the jirga which is now being carried out on the demand of and under the shadow of the foreign troops is, in fact, aimed at securing the interests of the foreigners. Such efforts are not expected to prove as a source of happiness and prosperity for the oppressed Afghans. 2. The colonialist war in Afghanistan initiated by America under the name of fighting terrorism has already lost its credidbity. People inside Afghanistan and outside in the whole world, constantly launch demonstrations against this illegitimate war. Karzai and his administration have no footing in the country. On the other hand, the growing and effective strikes of the Mujahideen, particularly, the Al-fatah victorious operations have sent jittery into the ranks of the American colonialism, so they want to spuriously show to their troops and people that they are making efforts to establish peace but the Taliban do not want a peaceful solution, nor the representatives of the Afghan people ( in the so-called Consultative Jirga) are ready to accept the conditions of the armed oppositions. Thus they want to show that the current war in Afghanistan is a war of necessity for America, not a war of its choice. So, the Jirga is meant to confuse the minds of the masses and throw dust into the eyes of the people. Obviously, the Jirga will provide yet another pretext for America to continue the war in Afghanistan, rather than bringing about peace in the country. 3. The foreign invading forces and their surrogates utilize this consultative Jirga only for propaganda stunt and wrongly give it the name of national consultative jirga, painting it as a representative body of the Afghans. However, all the participants of the Jirga are persons affiliated with the invaders and their powerless stooge administration in one way or the other. They are on the payroll of the invaders and work for their interests. Neither they are elders of the people, nor they represent the Afghan Mujahid people. 4. The main problem of the Afghans is the presence of foreign invaders in the free land of the Afghans. This so-called consultative jirga has no power of decision to compel foreign invading forces pull out of the country but it is convened with an aim of ensuring conditions for the continuation of presence of the invaders in Afghanistan. It has not been convened to ask the invading forces to leave the country. Therefore, the participants of the jirga are actually supporters of the foreign interference, not the true envoys of the people. 5. The foreign invaders and their powerless henchmen already did launch efforts under the name of Emergency Loya Jirga and Regional Peace Jirga but proved to be no remedy for the pains and grievances of the Afghan nation. Throughout the history of Afghanistan, jirgas have been convened for making decision. As such, they played a decisive role in resolution of problems. Generaly, Jirga, in its essence, is a decision-making institution, not a consultative body. 6. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers the supporters and participants of this so-called consultative jirga, as the main cause of the current tragedy of Afghanistan. The Islamic Emirate will confront the illegitimate and unlawful decisions of the Jirga by continuing the Islamic Jihad; will struggle for establishment of an independent Islamic system; will force the foreign invaders to accept a true and pragmatic solution of the issue and will, thus, put an end to the painful tragedy of the people., if God willing. " It is not a hard task for Allah (SwT) to perform.