Karzai welcomes US `Taliban not our enemy` remarks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday welcomed US Vice President Joe Biden`s remarks that the Taliban "per se is not our enemy".

Last Updated: Dec 31, 2011, 18:06 PM IST

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday
welcomed US Vice President Joe Biden`s remarks that the Taliban "per se is not our enemy".

Biden`s comments to Newsweek magazine last week caused
uproar in the US, which has been fighting a 10-year war
against the Taliban-led insurgency, but reflected an
increasing focus on finding a political settlement.

"We are very happy that America has announced that
Taliban are not their enemy. This will bring peace and
stability to the people of Afghanistan," Karzai said during a
ceremony in Kabul.

Karzai has agreed that if the United States wants to set
up a Taliban address in Qatar to enable peace talks he will
not stand in the way, as long as Afghanistan is involved in
the process.

The September assassination of Karzai`s peace envoy,
former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, appeared to have
derailed any prospects of progress in talks.

But recent unconfirmed reports suggest the US could be
open to a deal which includes the transfer of Taliban
prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

In the interview with Newsweek Biden emphasised the need
for the Taliban to cut ties with al Qaeda.

"We are in a position where if Afghanistan ceased and
desisted from being a haven for people who do damage and have
as a target the United States of America and their allies,
that`s good enough," he said.

As it pushes for a political settlement, the Afghan
government has changed its tone towards the insurgents,
referring to "terrorist" rather than "Taliban" attacks.

But many Afghans fear if the Taliban is allowed into
mainstream politics, their influence will see the undermining
of human rights and freedoms

PTI