Karzai welcomes US 'Taliban not our enemy' remarks

By AFP
Published: December 31, 2011

Karzai agrees if US wants to set up Taliban address in Qatar to enable peace talks he will not stand in the way. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai Saturday welcomed US Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks that the Taliban “per se is not our enemy”.

Biden’s comments to Newsweek magazine last week caused uproar in the US, which has been fighting a 10-year war against the Taliban-led insurgency, but reflected an increasing focus on finding a political settlement.

“We are very happy that America has announced that Taliban are not their enemy. This will bring peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan,” Karzai said during a ceremony in Kabul.

Karzai has agreed that if the United States wants to set up a Taliban address in Qatar to enable peace talks he will not stand in the way, as long as Afghanistan is involved in the process.

The September assassination of Karzai’s peace envoy, former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, appeared to have derailed any prospects of progress in talks.

But recent unconfirmed reports suggest the US could be open to a deal which includes the transfer of Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

In the interview with Newsweek Biden emphasised the need for the Taliban to cut ties with Al Qaeda.

“We are in a position where if Afghanistan ceased and desisted from being a haven for people who do damage and have as a target the United States of America and their allies, that’s good enough,” he said.

As it pushes for a political settlement, the Afghan government has changed its tone towards the insurgents, referring to “terrorist” rather than “Taliban” attacks.

But many Afghans fear if the Taliban is allowed into mainstream politics, their influence will see the undermining of human rights and freedoms.

Reader Comments (3)

  • Muhammad Nadeem
    Dec 31, 2011 - 8:27PM

    Karzais days are numbered…

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Dec 31, 2011 - 10:16PM

    Before 9/11, the U.S. and the Taliban had nothing to do with each other. It was Bush who waged war on the Al-Qaeda that started the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban have no global agenda and want to mind their own business. Since the arrival of the Western forces, they found a vocation to drive these non-believers out of their country.

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  • Kaka Manna
    Jan 2, 2012 - 1:43AM

    So the US can sleep with Taliban and Pakistan cannot , with the Haqqanis? Seriously, …..
    Note to P.A /ISI. pls continue to do whatever is in our interest.

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