Karzai: us and afghanistan negotiate with taliban

Karzai: us and afghanistan negotiate with taliban

He did not want to give details of the talks in order not to jeopardize the process.

This friday, karsai will meet in islamabad with his pakistani counterpart asif ali zardari and iranian president mahmud ahmadinejad. Summit also to discuss possible peace process in afghanistan.

"There have been contacts between the U.S. Government and the taliban, there have been contacts between the afghan government and the taliban," karsai said in the interview published thursday. In addition, all three sides had met in an unnamed "third place".

Officially, the taliban refuse to negotiate with the afghan government, which they see as a stooge of the united states. Karzai said his government’s contacts with the taliban had extended to "the most senior of them" as well.

Asked whether he believed that the taliban leadership also wanted peace, karzai said: "the people of afghanistan want peace, and that includes the taliban. (…) i am inclined to say, yes, they want peace." Even many taliban supporters did not want the afghans to suffer.

The afghan government and western countries have long been trying to bring the taliban to the negotiating table. So far, the parties to the conflict have only spoken about possible negotiations. Progress was made when all sides agreed to open a taliban contact office in the gulf emirate of qatar. Real peace talks not yet on the horizon.

Before the summit in islamabad, karsai traveled to the pakistani capital on thursday. He told the wall street journal that pakistan’s cooperation would make negotiations easier "for us, for the taliban and for the U.S.". No major progress expected at summit in islamabad.

In response to a question, karsai said in the interview that he hoped pakistan’s ISI military intelligence service would be willing to stop supporting insurgents in afghanistan. But he still has no more than "hopes" for pakistan’s cooperation. ISI regularly denies it supports afghan insurgents.

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