June 19, 2013

U.S. tries saving Taliban talks after Karzai objects 


By AMIR SHAH and 
DAVID RISING / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 2)

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai was angered when the Taliban cast its office in Qatar as a rival Afghan embassy.

2013 Associated Press File Photo

The U.S. has not yet said how many troops will remain in Afghanistan, but it is thought that it would be a force made up of about 9,000 Americans and 6,000 allies.

Shukria Barakzai, an independent member of parliament from Kabul, criticized Karzai's move to suspend negotiations with the U.S. on the security agreement, saying "we want to see our partners staying with us."

But she also questioned why the Taliban were able to open a political office in Qatar under their old flag.

"It's not really acceptable for the people of Afghanistan," she said.

The Taliban have for years refused to speak to the Afghan government or the Peace Council, set up by Karzai three years ago, because they considered them to be American puppets. Taliban representatives have instead talked to American and other Western officials in Doha and other places, mostly in Europe.

In setting up the office, the Taliban said they were willing to use all legal means to end what they called the occupation of Afghanistan — but did not say they would immediately stop fighting. They also did not specifically mention talks with Karzai or his representatives.

Despite all of the developments, the High Peace Council's Nooristan held out hope talks would eventually still be possible.

"We are working to solve these contradictions and fix these problems and act based on the agreements we had before, so the High Peace Council can go there and start the peace talks," he said.

Associated Press writers Kay Johnson and Ahmad Seir in Kabul and Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed to this report.
 

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