Hamid Karzai Confirms “Unofficial” Taliban Talks
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has lain to rest speculations that his administration is engaged in negotiations with Taliban rebels, confirming the existence of contacts with the insurgents in an interview with a US network.
“We have been talking to the Taliban as countryman to countryman…Not as a regular official contact with the Taliban with a fixed address but rather unofficial personal contacts have been going on for quite some time,” Karzai said in an interview with Larry King for CNN. Karzai’s confirmation of the secret talks first reported by the Washington Post comes several days since the Taliban claimed that the group now controls 75 percent of Afghanistan. The Taliban also said that they would not heed any call for a dialogue with the Afghan government.
Karzai recently approved the formation of a peace council that would officially open talks with the Taliban insurgents, who have been waging war against the Afghan government since they were toppled by a US-led invasion in 2001. The High Peace Council will be lead by former President Burhanuddin Rabbani.