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Deal between US and Pakistan cannot be equated with peace in Afghanistan, says Hamid Karzai

Jan 11, 2019

A deal between the US and Pakistan on Afghanistan cannot be equated with peace in the war-torn country and true stability can only be ushered in through an intra-Afghan dialogue, former president Hamid Karzai said on Thursday.

Karzai also said a peace process in Afghanistan can succeed only if it has the backing of all countries in the region, including India, which should do a “lot more” and be part of all the processes to establish peace and stability.

The Afghans have welcomed the US move to appoint Zalmay Khalilzad as special representative for Afghan reconciliation because he is an Afghan, but four conditions must be met for this process to succeed, he said.

“We have to differentiate between peace and a deal between the US and Pakistan on Afghanistan,” Karzai said while listing the conditions during a session at the Raisina Dialogue. Pakistan, he added, has the “most significant role to play for bringing peace to Afghanistan” but Afghans were wary as they had seen the consequences of Islamabad’s past actions.

“We don’t want a deal between the US and Pakistan on Afghanistan but we do want a peace process in which Pakistan plays an important role, including the US, India, Russia, China and Iran,” he said.

The other conditions are that the process should be totally based on an intra-Afghan dialogue, it should be recognised by all the Afghan people, and have the support of neighbours and the region.

The Afghans love the Pakistani people but are “unhappy and annoyed” with the Pakistani government and military establishment in equal measure, he said.

An Afghan-led peace process is one in which the Taliban and other Afghans “sit together in an intra-Afghan dialogue and sort out the difficulties we have within our country”, said Karzai, who was president during 2001-14.

Talking to the Taliban is “inevitable” as they are Afghans and sons of the soil, he said. Karzai added he believes the US is not going to leave Afghanistan because the two countries have a bilateral security agreement, which has also been the basis of American contacts with the Taliban.

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