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Karzai: Taliban office should be in Afghanistan
Question of the Day
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that if security concerns make it impossible to set up a Taliban political office in Afghanistan, then it should be established in another Islamic country, like Saudi Arabia, or in Turkey. If the Taliban opened an office, it would be seen as a willingness to talk peace and signal their intention to try to find a nonviolent solution to an insurgency that has cost the lives of thousands.
The president met with top Afghan leaders at the palace on Thursday to discuss efforts to reconcile with the Taliban and find a political solution to the decade-long war. The leaders agreed that fighting should stop before any negotiations begin, Karzai’s office said in a statement.
The former head of the council, Burhanuddin Rabbani, was assassinated on Sept. 20. Rabbani, a former president of Afghanistan, was killed by a suicide bomber posing as a peace emissary from the Taliban.
After Rabbani’s death, Karzai said informal peace efforts with unknown insurgents, who claim to want peace and then carry out suicide bombings, would not resume. Instead, he said, the Taliban had to establish an official address. At that time he called on Pakistan, where insurgent leaders are said to be based, to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
After the report in the newspaper, The Hindu, the Afghan government recalled its ambassador from Qatar for consultations.
An Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue, said recalling the ambassador was related to discussions about establishing an address for the Taliban to facilitate a peace process.
The Qataris have not kept Afghan officials engaged in the effort and did not consult with the Afghan government, the official said. He said the Afghan government had been kept appraised through its American and German partners.
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