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Karzai says Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace process critical

KABUL (INP): Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Thursday said the holding of a Loya Jirga was critical and that it was extremely important for Afghanistan to project a united front.

He said this was in order for people to come together to resolve the crisis the country is facing. He said a Loya Jirga should be held as soon as possible and must include all stakeholders from politicians, to tribal elders, civil society activists, through to members of the public.

In addition he said he was against the US’s new war strategy, which he said did not carry a message of peace. Karzai stated he also sent a letter to the Taliban asking them to join the peace talks process. According to him, he told the Taliban that all their war was doing was killing the people and destroying their homes.

He also called on the country to stand together in order to work towards strong cooperation and friendship with all foreign parties including the US, other countries and neighboring states.

Karzai said that when he was president he was opposed to the war, a stance that still stands today. He said during his presidency he visited Pakistan over 20 times and told them Afghanistan only wanted good relations with Islamabad.

Karzai said Pakistan’s role in the peace process was critical and without this, peace will be impossible in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. He went on to say that Pakistan has not been honest in its dealings with Afghanistan over the years and at times comes across as being an ally of the US and at other times as an ally of Afghanistan.

He said both the US and Pakistan have done exactly what they want in Afghanistan. “I hope that Pakistan knows today that it cannot force Afghanistan to reach their goals,” he said.

“We know we have a historical problem with Pakistan,” he added but went on to say “we still want good relations with Pakistan and we want very good relationships with other neighboring countries.” He however said he would not accept the Durand Line as the official border between the two countries.

He also labeled Daesh and al-Qaeda as terrorists and condemned the Taliban for their actions in terms of killing civilians. He also condemned US airstrikes but emphasized the need to sit and talk peace with the Taliban.

However, he noted that he did not want the US to withdraw from the country but that “their presence must benefit Afghanistan”. Karzai said he only wanted success for the national unity government saying it was in fact his “legacy”.

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