Afghan President Karzai still wants to negotiate with Taliban
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday that his government is still willing to start talks with the Taliban, easing concerns that a brazen attack by the group on the presidential palace last week would derail the country's nascent peace process.
In a joint news conference in Kabul with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Karzai urged the group to return to the negotiating table. He dismissed the attack as “peanuts” and said it would not deter his government from seeking peace.
The Taliban have indicated they are willing to open peace talks with the U.S. and Afghan governments and opened an office in Qatar a little more than a week ago for possible negotiations.
At the same time they have not renounced violence and attacks have continued across Afghanistan.
Their ability to carry out well-planned and bold operations was driven home Tuesday when a sport utility vehicle carrying four Taliban fighters made it into a highly secured area by the gates of the palace. The four Taliban gunmen battled Afghan security forces for about an hour before being killed; a second vehicle involved in the attack blew up at a checkpoint on the way into the area.
The brazen attack on the center of Karzai's government raised concerns that the Afghan leader, who has a reputation for political posturing, might demand difficult concessions for talks. The peace process has been delayed by a dispute over the flag and sign outside the Qatar office.
Karzai told reporters at a joint news conference with Cameron in Kabul that entering talks was the only way to end nearly 12 years of war.
He downplayed the significance of the Taliban attack at the heart of the Afghan government, in which all eight militants and three security guards were killed.
“Comparatively speaking this was quite an irrelevant attack,” he said. “We're more concerned when they attack Afghan civilians. We're more concerned when they attack Afghan schools and children. I wish they would spend all their time attacking the presidential palace and leave the rest of the country alone.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Venezuela calls for U.S. to slash diplomatic mission by 80 percent
- Boko Haram beheading video mimics Islamic State propaganda
- Pakistani parents jailed for refusing to vaccinate children against polio
- Nigerian mob kills girl suspected to be suicide bomber
- Russians pour into streets to mourn Putin’s foe Nemtsov
- Plane tracking may be more frequent as anniversary of missing flight nears
- Argentine President Fernandez: Late prosecutor Nisman had praised her
- Teacher turned notorious drug lord Gomez finally nabbed in Mexico
- Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu expected to confront Obama on Iran
- Netanyahu arrives in U.S., signs of easing of tensions over Iran speech
- Activists say Islamic State releases 19 Syrian Christians