U.S IN TALKS WITH TALIBAN
The president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai has said, on Saturday 06/18/2011, his government and the US are negotiating with Taliban fighters to bring peace to the country.While officials at the US embassy in Kabul could not be immediately reached for comment, Hamid Karzai’s remarks were the first official confirmation of US involvement in the negotiations (see – Legitimizing Taleban).
“You remember a few years ago I was saying thank you to the foreigners for their help; every minute we were thanking them,” he said. “Now I have stopped saying that, except when Spanta forced me to say thank you,” referring to his national security adviser, Rangin Spanta, who was present.
“They’re here for their own purposes, for their own goals, and they’re using our soil for that,” Hamid Karzai said (see also -Last-Warning 05.29.11).
Enouncements of peace talks with elements in the Afghan Islamic insurgency, with or without the participation of U.S and NATO, repeat themselves every few months (see – Kai’s Talks) but so far resulted in nothing accept serious negotiation with an imposter (see – The Impostor).
Diplomats have already said there have been months of preliminary talks between the two sides, and Karzai, who is a strong advocate of peace talks, has long said Afghans are in contact with anti-government groups (see also – Karzais Peace offer ).
Karzai’s disclosure came a day after the UN Security Council split the UN sanctions list for Taliban and Al Qaeda figures into two, which envoys said could help induce the Taliban into talks on a peace deal in Afghanistan (see also – UN 07.30.10).
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, earlier this year called on Taliban members to break ranks with Al Qaeda, renounce violence and accept the constitution so they can be reconciled to society. Western officials in Kabul stress that attempts to set up contacts with the Taliban are at a very early stage and that efforts are still being made to achieve a communication channel with the Taliban’s leadership (see – U.S Failed-Objectives).
The Afghan government and the international community have set a number of pre-conditions for talks including that the Taliban accept the Afghan constitution, respect the values of democracy, renounce violence and break ties with their Al Qaeda backers.
The pre-conditions have been rejected in public by the Taliban who are leading a bloody insurgency against foreign troops and Afghan forces. The Taliban repeatedly said they will negotiate peace only after the last NATO-ISAF soldier will leave the country (see also – Peace-Talks 10.06.10 ).
Shortly after Karzai’s remarks on Saturday, gunfire was heard in the centre of Kabul, a witness told Reuters news agency, and an Afghan television station reported that a police station had been attacked.
The Afghan interior ministry later said in a statement that three police officers, one intelligence agent and five civilians were also killed in Saturday’s assault.
Elsewhere, fighters attacked three convoys ferrying fuel and supplies to NATO troops stationed, killing nine Afghan security guards and torching at least 15 fuel tankers. Two of the attacks on the supply convoys took place in eastern Ghazni province, where two roadside bombs killed four Afghan security guards, Mohammed Hussain, the provincial police chief, said. Fighters also ambushed a NATO fuel convoy late on Friday along the border between Herat and Farah provinces in the west, killing five Afghan guards.
The USA is on the verge of announcing a substantial reduction of troops from Afghanistan despite the continued attacks in the country (see – spring 2011 offensive ).
As Afghan forces prepared to assume security control from NATO-led forces, Iran’s defence minister made a landmark visit to Kabul on Saturday in a bid to bolster ties between the two countries. Ahmad Vahidi met his Afghan counterpart Abdul Rahim Wardak on the first visit by an Iranian defence minister in 92 years, the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported.
Wardak’s ministry said the two discussed challenges including terrorism, drugs and arms smuggling, crime and border security during their meeting (see – IRAN HEADS TO AFGHANISTAN).