Peace talks with Taliban; a frustrated Karzai vows for direct links

Kabul: (Tuesday, February 21, 2012) feeling left out after USA establishing exclusive links with the Taliban and inviting them for negotiations in Qatar, a frustrated Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, has invited the
Taliban leadership for direct peace talks with his government.

Expressing his desire to get engaged into dialogues with the Islamists on the agenda of post US departure scenario, Karzai also urged Pakistan to lend a hand in facilitating the negotiations and to play its role towards putting
an end to the 10-year long war.

In a statement issued from his office in Kabul, the Afghan president stated, “In order to realize the objectives of the peace process, I invite the leadership of the Taliban to engage in direct talks with the Afghan government.”

Earlier, Karzai had claimed that he was constantly in touch with the Taliban leadership through intermediaries and there were hopes to carry forward the process. In an interview given about a week ago, he said, “We talk to the
Taliban every day. We were talking to them just a few days ago somewhere around this region. But not personally.”

With this desire on part of President Karzai, who heads a coalition government mainly comprised of non-pushtoons, it is still to be seen how Pushtoon led Taliban leadership responds to it.