Karzai urges US to back talks with Taliban leader

Last Updated: Monday, December 7, 2009 - 00:18

Washington: Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged the United States today to back talks with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, saying there was an "urgent need" for a negotiated approach to the conflict.

"Alone, we can`t do it," Karzai said in an interview on
CNN with Christiane Amanpour.

His comments came as US Defence Secretary Robert Gates
and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played down the
prospects of negotiations with the Taliban, particularly with
Mullah Omar.

Karzai acknowledged there was no support from his US
partners for talks with Omar but reaffirmed his longstanding
view that it would be useful to engage the Taliban leader in
negotiations.

"I do see an urgent need for a negotiated approach," he
said. "As well as we try to struggle against terrorism, we
must also talk and find peaceful ways."

"As an Afghan, I would very much want to negotiate with
him (Omar), provided he renounces violence, provided all the
connections to the Al-Qaeda and to terrorist networks are cut
off and denounced and renounced."

"And also provided, most importantly, that the United
States and our other allies back us in this and see the need
for it," he added.

Bureau Report



First Published: Monday, December 7, 2009 - 00:18

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