Karzai, Obama agree on Taliban office in Doha
“We recommitted our nations to a reconciliation process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. President Karzai updated me on his government's road map to peace,” Obama said.
“Today, we agreed that this process should be advanced by the opening of a Taliban office to facilitate talks,” he told a joint White House news conference with Karzai.
The visiting president said they had agreed on allowing a Taliban office in Qatar, where the insurgents would engage in direct talks with representatives of the High Peace Council, where they would seek help from relevant regional countries, including Pakistan.
Karzai added they would be trying their best together with the United States and other allies to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan as soon as possible by employing all the means in their power.
In their joint statement, Obama and Karzai urged the government of Qatar to facilitate the process. “The leaders said they would support an office in Doha for the purpose of negotiations between the High Peace Council and the authorised representatives of the Taliban.”
In this context, they called on the armed opposition to join a political process, including by taking those steps necessary to open a Taliban office.
Calling Afghan-led reconciliation the surest way to end violence and ensure lasting stability in Afghanistan and the region, the statement stressed the importance of accelerating efforts, including by countries in the region that have a role to play in support of the process.
“Through the High Peace Council, the Afghan government will intensify its efforts to promote the peace process,” the joint statement said.
At the news conference, Obama emphasised on the key role that Pakistan had to play in the reconciliation process and welcomed the recent steps being taken by it in this regard.
“Reconciliation also requires constructive support from across the region, including Pakistan. We welcome recent steps that have been taken in that regard, and we'll look for more tangible steps, because a stable and secure Afghanistan is in the interests not only of the Afghan people and the United States, but of the entire region,” Obama remarked.
“As President Karzai has indicated, it's very hard to imagine stability and peace in the region if Pakistan and Afghanistan don't come to some basic agreement and understanding about the threat of extremism to both countries and both governments in both capitals,” he said.
“That's really going to require political and diplomatic work between Afghanistan and Pakistan. And the United States, obviously, will have an interest in facilitating and participating in cooperation between the two sovereign countries,” Obama said.
While reiterating that any peace or reconciliation process must be Afghan-led, Obama asserted there could be no compromise on the basic values enshrined in the constitution, in particular on women’s rights.
It was not for the United States to determine what the terms of peace would be, he said, but it was not possible to reconcile without the Taliban renouncing terrorism and recognising the Afghan constitution.
“The Afghan constitution protects the rights of Afghan women. And the United States strongly believes that Afghanistan cannot succeed unless it gives opportunity to its women. We believe that about every country in the world,” he said.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.