Hamid Karzai: Taliban and the Afghan government should talk | Afghanistan News

US officials and Taliban representatives have wrapped up their longest round of talks – lasting 16 days – in Qatar’s capital.

While both sides hailed progress on key issues in Doha, there was no major breakthrough coming out of the talks.

In separate statements released on Tuesday, both sides said the marathon negotiations produced developments on the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, as well as security issues related to the pullout.

Last month, senior Afghan politicians, including former president Hamid Karzai, and a Taliban delegation, held two-day talks in Moscow, the first time Taliban officials met high-level representatives.

The Afghan government was not part of the talks, but Karzai said he had been trying to get the Taliban to sit with the Afghan government during the two-day talks in Moscow.

Al Jazeera spoke to Karzai about the Doha negotiations and the possibility of establishing peace in Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera: Do you see an end to the nearly 18 years of war in Afghanistan? 

Hamid Karzai: I welcome the talks between the US and the Taliban and hope that we will have lasting peace in Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera: There is a draft agreement on the withdrawal of foreign troops and assurances from the Taliban that Afghanistan will not be used to attack the US and its allies. But there needs to be a ceasefire. How far are we from a ceasefire in Afghanistan?

Karzai: We should not be far away from a ceasefire in Afghanistan. We should have it right now as that is the demand of the Afghan people: immediate ceasefire and peace in the country. It’s unfortunate that it is taking time, but we continue to hope there will be a ceasefire and productive talks between the Taliban and the US.

Also, as a result of the intra-Afghan dialogue, the first focus will be on a ceasefire and end to violence that brought so much pain to our people.

Al Jazeera: The intra-Afghan dialogue, does that include the Afghan government?

Karzai: Absolutely. There have to be talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban as soon as possible so we can have a comprehensive peace agreement. Lasting peace will only be there when there is ownership of the talks by the Afghan people.

Al Jazeera: When will the Taliban sit with the government because no deal can be implemented without the government’s participation?

Karzai: This is right. This is what we are trying to reach when we had talks with the Taliban. There have to be talks between the Taliban and the government and that there has to be an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue in which the government is very much present. We hope we will accomplish that very soon. We’ve already made some progress and we remain hopeful.

Al Jazeera: You were personally involved in the talks between the Afghan parties in Moscow. Those talks noticeably excluded President Ashraf Ghani and the government. What’s your position? Are you an advocate for pushing for the inclusion of the Afghan government in any peace talks? 

Karzai: Yes, we wanted the Afghan government to be there in Moscow. We wanted President Ghani to own these talks and to be an effective contributor and leader in these negotiations. We hope, as we reach the stage of the intra-Afghan talks in Doha, we would have made a lot of progress in this regard.

Al Jazeera: In your discussions with the Taliban, and talking about the future, what kind of Afghanistan do you envisage with the Taliban having a major role in the government again?

Karzai: They (the Taliban) are part of the country. They are the Afghan people and we cannot have a government, or peace, in Afghanistan when an important segment of the population is not there. 

So, we want the Taliban to be part of the Afghan political society, part of Afghan politics, to engage in all aspects of life. We hope we will reach comprehensive agreements in the modalities with a perspective for an Afghanistan that is progressive, peaceful and in line with the rest of the world.

That is taking all the necessary steps to educate our girls and boys and in which Afghanistan is seen as a country that is not harbouring extremism or terrorism but an Afghanistan which is a good neighbour and good participant of the international community.

This interview was edited for length and clarity 

Source

more recommended stories

  • Iranian FM visits Baghdad to discuss rising tensions with the US | Iran News

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has.

  • Should we fear for India’s democracy? | India elections 2019

    Weeks before the general elections in.

  • Citing Iran, Trump bypasses Congress to sell arms to Saudis | Saudi Arabia News

    US President Donald Trump, declaring a.

  • Indonesia’s Prabowo challenges election result in court | News

    Defeated Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

  • India elections 2019: All the latest updates | India News

    Counting of votes is under way.

  • US charges WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with espionage | USA News

    The US Justice Department unveiled 17.

  • What you need to know about India’s BJP | India News

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is.

  • Pentagon ‘mulls sending thousands more troops’ to Middle East | News

    The United States‘ Department of Defense.

  • US House Speaker Pelosi says Trump is engaged in a ‘cover up’ | USA News

    Democrats in the United States House.

  • Washington says attacks ‘deterred’ as US-Iran tensions rise | News

    The acting US defence secretary says.

  • New Ukrainian President Zelensky calls early parliamentary polls | Ukraine News

    Ukraine‘s new President Volodymyr Zelensky called.

  • Water supplies restored to besieged Libyan capital Tripoli | Libya News

    Water supplies to the 2.5 million.

  • Trump loses lawsuit challenging subpoena for financial records | Trump News

    A US judge on Monday ruled.

  • North African filmmakers pushing boundaries at Cannes 2019 | France News

    This year’s Cannes Film Festival is.

  • US says warship sails in South China Sea amid trade tensions | News

    The United States military has said.

  • Saudi Arabia ‘seeks to avert war, ready to respond with force’ | News

    Saudi Arabia wants to avert war.

  • Eurovision vs Globalvision: An artistic response | Palestine News

    Bethlehem and London – Palestinian, Israeli.

  • Presidential hopeful Joe Biden calls for unity in inaugural rally | Elections 2018 News

    Former Vice President Joe Biden has.

  • US warns airliners flying over Gulf of ‘misidentification’ | Iran News

    US diplomats warned commercial airliners flying.

  • Australian election: Voting under way in key contest | Australia News

    Melbourne, Australia – Australians are heading.

  • An Iranian building bridges in wall-obsessed America | US & Canada

    A towering artist of his generation,.

  • Taiwan parliament to vote on same-sex marriage legislation | Taiwan News

    Amid deep divisions, Taiwan‘s parliament has.

  • The Philippines’ Duterte: In pursuit of an imperial presidency | Asia

    Although President Rodrigo Duterte‘s name was.

  • Venezuela government, opposition in Norway for crucial talks | News

    Envoys from the Venezuelan government and.

  • Alibaba earnings hint at China’s ability to weather trade war | China News

    China‘s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported.

  • Iran halts some commitments under 2015 nuclear deal | News

    Iran has officially stopped some commitments.

  • PNG assesses damage from magnitude 7.5 earthquake | Papua New Guinea News

    Authorities in Papua New Guinea have dispatched.

  • Palestinian campaigners call for mass boycott of Airbnb on May 15 | News

    A Palestinian campaign has called on.

  • Spyware discovered targeting phones through WhatsApp calls | News

    Spyware crafted by an “advanced cyber.

  • Senior Palestinian official says she was refused US visa | USA News

    A senior Palestinian official has said she.

  • Sweden to reopen rape probe against WikiLeaks founder Assange | News

    Julian Assange is to be investigated.

  • Small lead for Australian opposition as election nears: poll | Australia News

    Australia‘s opposition Labor Party retains a.