NATO mistakes strengthen Taliban: KarzaiBy Hakim Basharat Feb 18, 2012 - 15:24
Addressing an audience at the National Defence University in Islamabad late on Friday, Karzai also thanked NATO for training and equipping Afghan forces. But he said the Taliban had been strengthened due to the mistakes of international troops.
“Civilian casualties and nighttime raids are the mistakes which make the Afghans unhappy and increases distrust,” the Afghan leader said.
Of the achievements made by his government over the past 10 years, he said the civil society, media and the education sector had considerably improved during the period.
“Our security forces are capable of defending their country and people, but there is still need for your (Pakistani) support,” Karzai said in response to the question whether Afghan forces had the ability to keep security on their own.
On training of Afghan security forces by Pakistan, he said it was possible in the future if problems between the neighbours were resolved. He thanked Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghans refugees, saying assistance in this regard was still needed.
If the Taliban were ready to accept the Afghan Constitution, they could be part of the current system, he explained. “Despite killing my brother (Ahmad Wali Karzai), I still call them brothers and invite them to join the peace talks.”
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran -- pledging greater cooperation in diverse fields -- on Friday vowed to put up a joint front against the menace of terrorism and extremism in the region.
At a joint news conference after their third trilateral meeting in Islamabad, Presidents Karzai, Asif Zardari and Mahmound Ahmadinejad supported Afghan-led peace efforts with the Taliban.
“Such trilateral meetings are important, but it is more important to implement their decisions,” Karzai said, suggesting a strategy to bring peace, prosperity and stability to South Asia.
Cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan should be enhanced to achieve sustainable progress and stability. Both countries, he said, should focus on promoting economic ties and removing misperceptions about them at international level.
Foreign troops would completely withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014, he said, adding: “We don’t want to bind our allies anymore.”