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US poll outcome won’t affect peace talks: Karzai

KABUL (Pajhwok): The upcoming US election’s result will have no significant impact on the Afghan peace process, believes former president Hamid Karzai. In an interview released, Karzai said: “I don’t think the outcome will have an impact that will deviate from the current process.”

America’s overall objective of achieving a negotiated settlement to the war in Afghanistan and reducing troops would remain unaffected, he thought. Speaking to VOA, Karzai said President Donald Trump’s views on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, or a significant cut in troops, had been clear. He said the Afghans respected Trump’s stance on reaching a settlement and on allowing the Afghans to determine their own future.

The US-Taliban peace deal, as far as it envisaged an end to the war in Afghanistan, was wonderful, the ex-president remarked. “Whether the US intention in Afghanistan is durable peace and a settlement is what we should see in the process,” he explained. On the Afghan peace process, the US was in great coordination with Pakistan, he noted, acknowledging the importance of Islamabad’s role.

“But peace for us is one thing and a deal between the US and Pakistan on us is a different issue. That we don’t want. That we will resist.” he said. Exactly similar deals were in evidence between the US and Pakistan when the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, he recalled. The ensuing misery for Afghans still continued, he complained.

He hoped all neighbours would participate in the Afghan peace process by working in tandem with the US and major powers like Russia, China and India. “There should be no behind-the-scenes deals or schemes there. We want transparency. We don’t want Afghanistan to be a place of conflict of interest between countries.”

Asked about the deadlocked talks in Doha, he replied they had no issue with the Taliban, almost the same delegation and the same leadership, during talks in Moscow. “If the intention in the US is for peace in Afghanistan, these talks will succeed. I have no doubt. And if the intention in Pakistan, together with the US, is for peace in Afghanistan, these talks will succeed. And we welcome it.”

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