Wednesday, February 05, 2014

AFGHANISTAN - Secret Meeting, Karzai and Taliban

"Afghanistan’s Karzai reportedly engaged in secret peace talks with Taliban" PBS Newshour 2/4/2014


GWEN IFILL (Newshour):  Now we turn to Afghanistan, and another potential snag, as the U.S. struggles to reach a security deal with President Hamid Karzai.

Presidential campaign season has begun in earnest in Kabul, with banners and billboards touting candidates for the April 5 election.  One issue looms especially large over it all: whether to sign a security agreement allowing some U.S. and NATO troops to remain beyond the end of this year, mainly in a training capacity.

President Hamid Karzai has balked at signing the agreement, insisting he will leave it to his successor.

PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI, Afghanistan (through interpreter):  Afghanistan will never sign the security agreement under pressure.  No pressure, no threat, no psychological operation against our people can force us to sign the security agreement.  If they want to leave, they should leave today.

GWEN IFILL:  Now, The New York Times reports, and a Karzai spokesman confirms, the Afghan president has begun secret peace talks with the Taliban.  The spokesman says the two sides met in Dubai three weeks ago.  And he notes relations with the Taliban have improved since Karzai refused to sign the security pact.

In Washington, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn’t address the report of peace talks.  Instead, he warned again time is running short.

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