Former President Hamid Karzai at a press conference in Kabul on Thursday talked about two major events currently dominating Afghanistan’s politics-- the peace process with the Taliban and the presidential elections -- and said they are not under Afghans’ control.
“So far, the peace process is not Afghan-owned,” Karzai said.
His remarks come as the US and the Taliban are close to finalize a peace deal. Oslo is about to host intra-Afghan negotiations in the coming days.
Karzai said the peace process should be led by Afghans and owned by Afghans and that it should not be handed to other countries.
“We have supported the US efforts for peace in Afghanistan, but we will not accept the US and Pakistan’s deal on our soil. No doubt, we want to have relations with Pakistan,” Karzai said.
He added that instability in Afghanistan will not benefit the neighboring countries,
“They [the neighbors] should work with us for a stable Afghanistan,” he reiterated
While the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and senior members of the Taliban are preparing to sit for the eighth round of their talks in Doha for finalizing a peace deal, Karzai said that even if the US and the Taliban seal a peace, Daesh will further expand its activities in the country.
“We are aware that the US was pursuing its own objectives, perhaps this would not mean a peace process to them. In their perspective, the issue is to pass from one stage to another under the name of peace between us and the Taliban and on the other side encourage Daesh and escalate a new war under the name of Daesh in Afghanistan,” said Karzai.
Karzai who dominated the Afghan politics for thirteen years in the post-Taliban democracy said that holding the presidential elections at this period of time is not in the interests of the country and instead more work should be done to accelerate the peace process.
He also said that some other countries in the region such as Russia, China, Iran, and India must be involved in the peace process.
“In the first stage of arranging the list, Mr. Salam Rahimi came to me and brought me the 45-member delegation which had gone to Doha and said which one I would prefer and said that we have also shared this list with other elders. But they did not share the final list with us,” he said.
Government's Negotiating Team
While concerns continue to increase over the details of US-Taliban talks in Doha, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the government’s peace negotiating team will start talks with the Taliban once the US and the Taliban reach an agreement.
“The delegation which has been structured by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, of course, it will have the authority when it comes to holding talks and our gains which mark our redlines will be considered in the talks,” said MoFA spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi.