Respect people’s right, Karzai tell his forces
Addressing a joint session of parliament, the president urged lawmakers and political leaders to throw their weight behind the panel’s efforts for lasting peace in the country.
He said: “It’s good for discussing all issues with the Taliban, anytime and anywhere. They are also Afghans. But outsiders are also involved in the reconciliation efforts. We (Afghans) must talk to them collectively…”
His government had agreed to the opening of Taliban’s political bureau in Qatar, but the move had to proceed in line with the peace council’s conditions, he explained, saying preserving the gains of the past decade one of the terms.
The insurgents were carrying foreigners’ guns on their shoulders, something that impeded Afghanistan’s development and prosperity, the president alleged, without naming anyone.
Some countries were dead-set against a stable system in Afghanistan and wanted to slip once again into a civil strife and injustices. It was time for the fighters to come back to their homeland and stop playing into outsiders’ hands, he observed.
“Some of the Taliban had told me in private that they have problems, they are scared of returning home. But they have to show courage and come home to get rid of the trouble they are in.”
However, he continued, some of the Taliban were optimistic of peace in the country and had realised that they themselves were destroying their homeland.
Quite uncharacteristically, the president took a dig at his security forces and urged them to avoid torturing their own people. Some Afghan forces were also violating people’s rights, he admitted. “Our Afghan people are not safe in their houses…”
Pakistan had an important role to play in stabilising Afghanistan, acknowledged Karzai, who regretted Islamabad’s failure to take substantive steps in that direction.
Terrorist safe havens in the neighbouring country were fuelling violence in Afghanistan and the region at large, claimed the president, who once again sought concrete cooperation from Pakistan in the enforcement of peace.
Karzai assured the MPs that the election would be held on schedule and in a transparent manner. Fair polls were important to him, both politically and historically, he said, stressing a cut in the electoral expenses.
During the last presidential vote, international advisors and enablers were given up to $40 million, he said, adding the Afghan-supervised ballot in 2014 must be without foreign interference.
At the start of the joint session, Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi called for a sustained focus on problem resolution and bringing prosperity to the country.
Ibrahimi said Afghanistan was in a critical phase, preparing for presidential and provincial council elections over the next two years. Foreign troops were in the process of transferring the security responsibility to local forces, he added.
The struggle against terrorism and corruption had also reached an important stage, he said, adding the global fraternity had linked future assistance to Afghanistan with an effective campaign against administrative graft.
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