Karzai coming to talk Taliban peace
13 August, 2013
KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai will travel to Pakistan this month in the hope of breathing life into moribund peace process with the Taliban and mending a frayed relationship between the neighbours, Afghan officials said on Monday.
The role of Pakistan is seen as critical to efforts to get the Afghan Taliban to sit down to talks about ending the 12-year war as most foreign troops prepare to pull out of Afghanistan by the end of next year. Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the capital of the Gulf State of Qatar, Doha, were announced in June only to be cancelled following Karzai's anger over the Taliban displaying a banner and a flag, harking back to their repressive rule over Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
"I can confirm that President Karzai is travelling to Pakistan later this month," Afghanistan's ambassador to Islamabad, Omer Daudzai, told Reuters. The trip will be Karzai's first visit to Pakistan since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was elected. Many had hoped Nawaz's election would lead to a reset in the relationship. Those hopes were dashed after Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry accused Pakistan of having raised the idea of power-sharing between the Kabul government and the Taliban. Pakistan denied the accusation.
Karzai will visit Pakistan from August 26-28. The leadership of the High Peace Council, the body created by Karzai in 2010 to broker peace with the Taliban, will also attend, a spokesman said. The Taliban have been waging an insurgency to overthrow Karzai's government and oust foreign troops.