Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai says he's talking to the Taliban
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai confirmed that he's talking to the Taliban, seeking a political settlement with the group that harbored Al Qaeda prior to and just after 9/11.
• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.Skip to next paragraph
Israeli general hints at another Gaza campaign
Unclaimed attack on Islamic school raises tension in Nigeria
See no evil? Activists doubt credibility of Arab League mission to Syria.
Arab League observers head to Syria's war-ravaged Homs
Christmas church bombings put global spotlight on 'Nigerian Taliban' (VIDEO)
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said that his government has been in talks with the Taliban, the highest-level confirmation yet that his government is exploring a political settlement with the islamist militant group.
Karzai told King that his government had long had unofficial contact with the Taliban, and that he hoped official talks could begin now that a peace council was created for that purpose.
We have been talking to the Taliban as countryman to countryman, talk in that manner. Not as a regular official contact with the Taliban with a fixed address but rather unofficial personal contacts have been going on for quite some time. ...
Now that the peace council has come into existence, these talks will go on, and will go on officially and more rigorously, I hope.
Karzai drew a sharp line between Taliban that should be rehabilitated into Afghanistan society, and members of Al Qaeda or other groups who "cannot be accepted."
The Taliban, those of whom who are Afghans and the sons of Afghans soil who have been driven to violence by various factors beyond their control... we want them to come back to their country.They are like kids who have run away ... from the family.
But those who are a part of Al Qaeda and the other terrorist networks who are ideologically against us or who are working against Afghanistan knowingly and out of the purpose of hatred and enmity - those of course we have to work against.
Karzai was responding in part to King's request for comment on recent reports, including in the Christian Science Monitor, which said that the Afghanistan government had been holding secret talks with the Taliban.
The 68-member High Peace Council, whose members were chosen by Karzai, was inaugurated October 7, according to the Agence France-Presse. On Sunday, former Afghanistan president Burhanuddin Rabbani was appointed chairman of the council.
Some analysts have expressed skepticism about the council, saying it's stacked with too many warlords, crooks and criminals to be successful. The council includes some of the major participants in Afghanistan's 1992-1996 civil war, which the UN estimated killed 80,000 civilians and ended when the Taliban and their allies took power.