Karzai urges Taliban talks without US troops pullout

President Hamid Karzai on Sunday said Taliban should give up its demand that US-West troops end years of Afghan invasion before talks.

Karzai urges Taliban talks without US troops pullout

President Hamid Karzai on Sunday said Taliban should give up its demand that US-West troops end years of Afghan invasion before talks.

Taliban insurgents have long said they are willing to negotiate only if more than 110,000 foreign troops occupying Afghanistan leave the country first.

Karzai said the Taliban's insistence on a withdrawal of Western troops before any talks was "not a meaningful gesture".

Karzai told a news conference, "therefore, they have to be satisfied that they have achieved their objective before they can leave."

The Taliban should "return to their own country and work for peace in order for us to be able to have the U.S. and other forces to be able to have the freedom to go back home," he said.

At a conference on Afghanistan in London last Thursday, Karzai called on fighters to take part in a "loya jirga" -- or large assembly of elders -- as a start to peace talks.

Karzai made clear on Sunday that he wants to move quickly. He said he would summon the jirga in less than six weeks, before another international conference he intends to host in Kabul, pencilled in for some time in the next few months.

Karzai said he will soon travel to Saudi Arabia, which has offered to help facilitate talks with the Taliban. He did not give dates for the trip, which palace officials say they expect within days.

Washington is sending 30,000 more troops this year and other nations are sending some 7,000. Washington also says it wants to begin drawing down its forces in mid-2011.


Reuters


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Karzai seeks Saudi role for Afghan "reconciliation" / PHOTO

Last Mod: 01 Şubat 2010, 11:04
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