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    Karzai hails Biden remarks as a peace message

    KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Saturday hailed US Vice President Joe Biden's remarks that Taliban were not America's enemies as a message of peace to the people of Afghanistan.

    Addressing a gathering on the 40th death anniversary of noted Pakhtun nationalist Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai, Karzai said: "We are happy if pretexts for agonising Afghans vanish and they live in peace. Biden's remarks are a good message for us."

    On Dec. 20, 2011, Biden told the Newsweek magazine those who ruled Kabul before 9/11 were not the US enemies. "Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That's critical," the vice-president said.

    But a day later, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt John Kirby told reporters during an off-camera news conference the Taliban involved in attacks against US soldiers were the enemy to the United States.

    Qatar, the US and Germany reportedly agreed at the 2nd Bonn Conference on December 5 to let the Taliban open their political office in Doha. The move is apparently aimed at facilitating the ongoing reconciliation campaign.

    The US has reportedly agreed to transfer five ex-Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay to the proposed Taliban office in Qatar, but Afghan government says the detainees be handed over to Kabul.

    In his speech, Karzai said: "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."

    While hailing Achakzai as an independence hero, the president said the nationalist leader valiantly struggled for his nation's liberation.

    Achakzai, founder of the Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party, was born in 1907 in the Gulistan area of Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province. He was assassinated during a grenade attack on his residence in Quetta in December 1973.

    During his eventful political career, Achakzai was imprisoned several years by British, Indian and Pakistani governments. He has written a number of articles and books in Pashto, Dari, Urdu and Arabic.

    Information and Cultural Affairs Minister Syed Makhdoom Rahin praised Achakzai's contribution to the cause of promoting education and discouraging unwholesome traditions among Pakhtuns.

    myn/mud