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Iran Press TV

Afghan president urges Taliban to lay down arms

Iran Press TV

Thu Aug 8, 2013 2:24PM GMT

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeated his call for Taliban to give up militant activities and join the Kabul government-led peace process in Afghanistan.

'Come and serve your soil and put down the weapon which the stranger has put on your shoulders and that you kill your people with. Put it down and serve your people,' Karzai in his Eid al-Fitr message on Thursday, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

He said the militant group was pursuing the interests of foreigners in the war-torn country.

The president added that the militants were humiliated in recent peace talks held in the Qatari capital of Doha. 'You have witnessed this during the opening of the Qatar office, you were guests and not the owner. You were guests but you were not honored. Your flag and sign were raised and then immediately taken down.'

Pakistani negotiators have been persuading the Taliban leadership in recent weeks to embark on peace talks with the Americans in Qatar.

President Barack Obama's administration has supported peace talks with the Taliban after the US-led forces lost ground against the militants in recent months across Afghanistan.

Senior Pakistani officials have welcomed the dialogue between Taliban and the United States in Doha, but the Afghan government has expressed serious concerns about the ongoing US-led peace process with Taliban in Qatar.

Senior Afghan officials say the move contradicts the US security guarantees, noting that the Taliban militants will be able to use their Doha office to raise funds for their campaign in Afghanistan.

The Kabul government has also suspended strategic talks with Washington to discuss the nature of US presence after foreign troops withdraw in 2014.

President Karzai has frequently said the peace process should be initiated, led and owned by Afghans.

The ongoing tensions cast a spotlight on the depth of distrust between Kabul and Washington. This comes while the relations between Kabul and Islamabad are also traditionally mired in distrust.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after more than 11 years, insecurity remains across the country.

JR/KA



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