Karzai offers Taliban direct dialogueBy Pajhwok Reporter Feb 21, 2012 - 20:58
KABUL (PAN): Amid efforts at ending the decade-long war in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday invited Taliban leaders to enter direct negotiations with his administration.
Since peace was the most important aspiration of the Afghan nation, his government would continue to prioritise efforts at stabilising the country through the reconciliation programme, the president said.
A statement from the Presidential Palace quoted Karzai as calling the peace process an Afghan-led effort, backed by the people and endorsed by last year’s traditional peace Jirga.
He also underlined the need for whole-hearted international support for the success of the Afghan-owned project. With the country’s stability in mind, he had agreed to the opening of Taliban’s political office in Qatar, he added.
“On behalf of the Afghan people and government, I thank Pakistan for lending its support to our peace endeavours. I would once again stress the importance of Pakistan’s role in this regard,” he remarked.
Islamabad being part of the process should help arrange direct dialogue between the Taliban and his government, the president maintained. The campaign was aimed to pave the ground for all Afghans, including Taliban, to return home, he explained.
The statement came hours after Karzai and his US counterpart Barack Obama discussed over the telephone regional support for Afghan-led reconciliation and a strategic pact between the allies.