- Hamid Karzai tells Al Jazeera that he doesn’t want to eliminate the Taliban but wants to reintegrate them into society.
- Has accepted the offer for the Taliban to open an office in Doha as a formal channel for peace talks with the group.
- He says will not run for President in 2014 and will respect the constitution.
Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President in an exclusive interview told Al Jazeera that he intends to negotiate with the Taliban.
President Karzai told Al Jazeera he would like to work with the Taliban to help bring about peace before NATO troops pull out of combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014.
“We never planned to eliminate the Taliban. Not me, not the Afghan people, not the Afghan government. The moment I was declared the head of the interim government…I declared complete amnesty to Taliban…from the leadership to everybody else.” “And the plan was to bring them and have them reintegrate into Afghan society like all other Afghans. So that wasn’t our aim and it isn’t our aim. I’m still calling them brothers. I’m still trying to have them be part of the country again and participate in the Afghan life, as we all do, the Afghans.”
The role of the Taliban office in Doha will be to: “Facilitate direct contacts officially for the peace process of Afghanistan, a public announced negotiation in the name of the Afghan peace process, between the Afghan High Council for Peace and the Taliban, and that’s why Mr Salahuddin Rabbani, the Head of the High Council for Peace, is here with us, so we can talk today, with His Highness the Emir, on how Qatar can facilitate the peace process in Qatar. And that will keep the Afghan constitution respected, that will keep Afghanistan in charge and the High Peace Council, the only avenue for talks.”
When asked about whether he will attempt to run as President in the 2014 elections, he responded by saying: “No. The Afghan constitution doesn’t allow it. There are two terms allowed, and I will be happy…It’s good for me and it is good for the country that the constitution works, that the next president comes that the elections are held.”
President Karzai stated that he will respect the constitution and will remain in Kabul as an ex-president help serving the country.
Please credit Al Jazeera when using these quotes.
The full interview will be aired at the following times:
Al Jazeera Arabic – Bela Hodood –19:05 GMT
Al Jazeera English – Talk to Al Jazeera – 19:00 GMT