Karzai Seeks Peace Talks Among Afghans Within Afghanistan

Former president Hamid Karzai on Monday called on the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban to organize peace meetings within the country, reiterating that peace should be changed into a national process in order for results to be achieved.

Addressing an event on peace, Karzai said the US’s efforts for peace in Afghanistan have had no results; therefore, he said, violence continues to take a toll on the people.

“And here, both sides … who have been placed against each other–the Taliban’s Islamic movement, and the Republic–they have a national duty to own the process through our initiative and to see our success within a month,” Karzai said.

He said that the Islamic republic and the Taliban should turn the peace process into an Afghan-led process by holding sessions within the country.

“Let’s make it on our soil. We have a place. I hope that the Islamic movement of the Taliban and our own government come and say ‘let’s go to Bamiyan where we have beautiful places as well as beautiful weather, where we don’t need an air conditioner,’” he said.

Politicians who attended the event said that the Taliban’s quest for war and the lack of political consensus, the monopolization of power at the Presidential Palace, and “wrong” policies by the government are the main reasons behind the event stalemate in the peace process.

“Is (the system) worth defending? Gradually our police, too, will ask these questions. The reality is that our security forces did not fight in Laghman. It should be asked: Why didn’t they fight?” said Mohammad Omar Zakhilwal, head of Harakat-e-Nejat-e-Afghanistan, a political movement.

“The biggest hurdle to peace are those forces that fuel war and kill our civilians and our forces,” former national security adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta said.

“We hope to have a peace forum among Afghans and between Afghans,” said Jafar Mahdawi, head of the Millat-e-Afghanistan Party.

The participants said that the government’s breaking of its commitments to the people has affected the people’s trust in the administration.

“Show me one place where this government would have followed its commitment to anyone. When we have a government that breaks its commitment and lacks trust, then who will talk with who?” asked Abdul Salam Abid, a religious scholar.

“A responsible withdrawal means that the 20 years of war in Afghanistan either results in peace or at least provides a clear reason for a continued war in Afghanistan,” said Shahgul Rezaee, an MP from Ghazni.

Karzai’s remarks come a day after the Republic negotiators said that they will travel to Doha on Tuesday. But it is not known so far that when they will resume their negotiations with the Taliban.