Conflict & Justice

Karzai says Pakistan is sabotaging Taliban peace talks in Bonn (VIDEO)


Afghan President Hamid Karzai (C) shakes hands with an unidentified man as he is welcomed by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (R) upon his arrival on December 2, 2011 at the Koeln/Bonn military airport, in Cologne, western Germany, ahead of a major international conference on Afghanistan.


Patrik Stollarz

Hamid Karzai has accused Pakistan of sabotaging peace talks with the Taliban by refusing to take part in an international conference on Afghanistan's future in Bonn.

"Up until now, they have sadly refused to back efforts for negotiations with the Taliban," Agence France-Presse reported the Afghan president as telling Der Spiegel.

Karzai's comments were reported in German and due to be published on Monday, according to AFP.

The Bonn meeting, Der Spiegel wrote, was "supposed to convince Kabul that the West will not abandon it after foreign troops leave in 2014."

The conference comes 10 years after a previous landmark meeting on Afghanistan in the German city.

But Pakistan's boycott of the meeting, which starts on Monday — following NATO air strikes on Pakistani border posts last week that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers  — has dealt a blow to already fragile hopes for a roadmap to peace in Afghanistan.

(GlobalPost reports: Pakistan orders review of relations with US after deadliest NATO air strikes; NATO attack on Pakistan no mistake, sources say; WSJ: Pakistan gave US go-ahead for NATO air strikes

NATO apologized for the incident, but Islamabad accused the military alliance of deliberate aggression and anger has only grown in Pakistan — much of it aimed at America — straining already tense ties between Pakistan and the United States.

AFP reports that the Taliban "leaders of [Afghanistan's] brutal, decade-long insurgency" will also not be attending the Bonn talks, on the basis that the meeting will "further ensnare Afghanistan into the flames of occupation."

The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker told VOA, meantime, that Pakistan's absence from the Bonn meeting — while "unfortunate" — would not derail Afghan progress or change the outcome of the gathering.

And German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle reportedly told the Frankfurter Daily that: "Pakistan has more to gain from a stable and peaceful Afghanistan than any of its neighbors."

However, Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf, now head of the All Pakistan Muslim League, was quoted by the Pakistan Observer as saying that the Bonn meeting would not produce any magical results that could solve the Afghanistan issue.

In a TV interview, he reportedly questioned that anyone even knew who was leading the Taliban.

"Who is the real commander of Taliban? This is an important question. Mullah Umer or Gulbadin Hikmatyar or Haqqani? So who should be talked to? Then there are several other groups in Pakistan. So it is not an easy process."