Taliban should've opened office in Afghanistan: Karzai
KABUL (PAN): Once again inviting the Taliban to peace talks, President Hamid Karzai on Thursday said their signs, flags and banners would not have been removed if they had opened a political office in Afghanistan instead of Qatar.
The president renewed his call on the Taliban to stop using foreign guns against their own brothers and get rid of foreign hands on them.
“I have time and again urged you (Taliban) to leave the homes of others. You cannot make them own people. Your signs and banners were removed in no time in Qatar because you were not free there; you were guests and even not accorded hospitality.”
The Taliban opened their office in Doha in May, but a dispute over a sign scuttled US plans to launch immediate peace talks with the Taliban.
The Taliban insisted they be allowed to identify their new office in Qatar as the "Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the name the group used when it ruled the South Asian nation, has thwarted plans to launch direct negotiations.
President Karzai angrily vowed to boycott talks with the Taliban and suspended separate negotiations with the US over a long-term security agreement.
Under pressure, the Taliban removed the signs, took down the flag and even removed the flagpole from the Doha compound. But they are refusing to take part in peace talks until they are allowed to restore the symbols to their office.
Karzai said if the Taliban had opened their office within Afghanistan, their symbols would not have been removed and they would have been respected.
“You were away from Afghanistan and were taken there (Qatar) by foreigners. Your symbols were raised by others and brought down by others.” He asked the Taliban to stop relying on foreign hands and shun violence.
Karzai praised security forces for their countless sacrifices in defence of the motherland, saying Afghanistan was independent and sovereign state because of those sacrifices.
Second Vice President Karim Khalili, Cabinet ministers, jihadi leaders, religious scholars, provincial councils members, ambassadors of Islamic countries and local officials attended the Eid prayers at the Presidential Palace.
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