Afghan president: U.S. and Taliban ‘in talks on a daily basis’
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday criticised the Taliban for holding daily talks with the United States as they also launch suicide attacks that kill civilians and children.
The Islamist militants deny re-opening talks after they broke off tentative contact with the US in Qatar in March last year due to failed attempts to negotiate a prisoner exchange.
Reacting after two suicide bombs killed 19 people in Kabul and Khost on Saturday, Karzai accused the Taliban of negotiating with their enemy at the same time as murdering innocent Afghans.
“The Taliban said they wanted to show their strength (by launching the attacks),” he said. “This is while the leaders of the Taliban, their representatives, are every day at meetings with the Americans abroad.
“We know about it, both the foreigners tell us about it and the Taliban. In Europe as well as in Gulf countries, the Taliban and the Americans and foreigners are in talks on a daily basis.”
Karzai, who offered no proof of the talks and who has a record of making inflammatory speeches, said the attacks enabled the US-led military force to justify its presence in Afghanistan.
“The bombs that were detonated in Kabul and Khost were not a show of force, they were serving America,” he said in a televised speech in Kabul.
A US spokesman travelling with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is visiting Kabul, reacted to the speech by saying that the US and Afghanistan governments “shared a common view of the Taliban, and that is that they’re the enemy.”
“If a political reconciliation process leads to different behaviour on their part, it will be an Afghan-led process,” the spokesman added.
The Taliban have consistently refused to negotiate directly with Karzai’s government, which they have been battling since they were ousted from power in a 2001 US-led invasion.