US hails Afghan leader's direct talks offer to rebelsBy Lalit K Jha Feb 22, 2012 - 10:26
WASHINGTON (PAN): The United States has welcomed Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s statement inviting Taliban leaders to enter direct negotiations with his government.
“We have been gratified to see President Karzai speaking out publicly in support of Afghan-to-Afghan reconciliation,” a State Department spokesperson told reporters at her daily news conference.
“Our job, our goal is to work ourselves out of a job, if that makes sense, because when we get to the point where it's Afghans and Afghans talking to each other, then we'll really have a true reconciliation process,” she said.
The United States, Victoria Nuland added, had been talking about this all the way. Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman had been working on it for some time, she added.
“On his last trip, which we talked to you about a little bit, he saw President Karzai at the beginning of the trip; he saw President Karzai at the end of the trip,” the spokeswoman continued.
So it was appropriate that the two presidents spoke to each other to support the process which is in the preliminary stage, Nuland said, comments that came a day after Obama phoned Karzai to discuss with him regional support for the Afghan-led reconciliation process.
“They discussed regional support for Afghan-led reconciliation, the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran trilateral meetings last week in Islamabad, and other strategic issues of mutual concern,” the White House said in a statement.