End foreign presence by embracing peace, Taliban told
KABUL (PAN): In response to a Taliban statement offering a rare support to President Karzai for his position so far on a security deal with the US, the Afghan government on Thursday said the rebels should embrace peace so that argument for a continued war and a prolonged foreign troops’ presence in Afghanistan could be put to an end.
On Monday, the Taliban urged President Karzai to turn his delay in signing the long-term security deal with the US into outright rejection.
In the unusually polite statement, the Taliban also demand that Karzai abandoned all conditions and reject the pact unilaterally.
"Karzai, the president of the Kabul administration, apparently conditionally refused to sign the BSA," the statement from spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
"If he truly understands the real (situation), he should reject it without conditions, from a sense of Afghan spirit. "The decision of the Afghan nation is clear: they don't want any occupier in our homeland."
But a statement issued from the Presidential Palace said the Taliban had indirectly supported President Karzai’s conditions for the security agreement and had once again tied peace and intra-Afghan reconciliation to the withdrawal of foreign troops.
The statement said the Taliban used the presence of foreign troops as a justification for their attacks, while foreign troops used their attacks as excuse to stay in Afghanistan.
“The Taliban say as long as foreign troops are in Afghanistan, they will continue fighting and the Americans use the presence of Taliban and al Qaeda as an argument to be here, but for all this, the Afghan nation is paying the price,” the statement said.
The statement said President Karzai, who calls Afghan Taliban as brothers, has repeatedly invited the insurgents to the negotiating table in order to end anarchy and foreign interferences in Afghanistan and rescue the Afghans from becoming tools into foreign hands to destroy their own country.
“If the Taliban’s latest statement is their real stance and they are true in their words, they should embrace peace in order to put to an end excuses being made for the presence of foreigners,” the statement from the Presidential Palace said.
“The President realises the role and its level played by foreigners in the country’s conflict.” The statement explained President Karzai in his speeches to the Loya Jirga had said if the US and Pakistan wanted, they could certainly bring peace to Afghanistan.
“Our Afghan Taliban brothers should realise the factors behind the war. They should share efforts for achieving peace and should return home and take part in the country’s rebuilding as part of a united nation.”
President Karzai believed that relations with the West and the US, particularly in military and economic fields, were in the interest of Afghanistan. But these contacts could prove beneficial only when peace was established in Afghanistan, the statement concluded.
The Taliban statement came on the day Iraq's foreign minister visited Kabul and admitted that his country still needs "continued US support" to combat widespread sectarian violence.
Karzai has said he will not sign the BSA until after a presidential election to choose his successor next year.
The US has said that the negotiations are finished, and Karzai must make a decision by the end of the year, to allow time for planning either a troop departure or the shape of the follow-up presence.
If the deal is not signed, all foreign soldiers will leave when the current combat mission ends in 2014, and most of a promised $8 billion a year in military and development aid is likely to vanish.
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