Karzai clings to his stance on reconciliation drive
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Monday conferred with the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan on the ongoing peace process and the opening of Taliban’s political office in Qatar.
On his second trip to the war-torn country, Ambassador James Dobbins met Karzai at the Presidential Palace before holding talks with other senior Afghan officials and representatives.
At the meeting, Karzai reaffirmed Afghans’ desire for lasting peace, a process led and owned by them. Outsiders should not exploit the reconciliation drive for achieving their own goals, the president said in a statement from his office.
The president made clear that his country remained interested in a peace process that reinforced the government system, national unity and preserved achievements of the past decade.
Earlier in the day, the US embassy said a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including the reconciliation process, would be discussed at the meetings.
President Obama and President Karzai have agreed the reconciliation drive is the surest way to a lasting peace and a unified, stable and secure Afghanistan.
Dobbins’ visit to Afghanistan comes at a time of renewed tension between Kabul and Washington over the opening of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the government would hold talks with the Taliban in Doha only if the militants honoured their commitments.
The Taliban’s political office -- the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan -- was opened in Doha last week, with support from the Obama administration.
But the Afghan government strongly opposed the office under that name and suspended negotiations with the US on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA).
The US had failed to keep the promise it held out to the Afghan government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Janan Musazai told a news conference in Kabul yesterday.
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