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'Al Qaeda has no structural presence in Afghanistan'

Al Qaeda has no structural presence in Afghanistan though terrorists sent by the outfit might be operating in the country, President Hamid Karzai has said while cautioning the US-led forces against entering into agreement with local Taliban commanders.

world Updated: Apr 20, 2009 14:48 IST

Al Qaeda has no structural presence in Afghanistan though terrorists sent by the outfit might be operating in the country, President Hamid Karzai has said while cautioning the US-led forces against entering into agreement with local Taliban commanders.

“Al Qaeda is not in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda was driven out of Afghanistan in 2001 by the combined forces of the United States, allies and the Afghan people,” Karzai told CNN in an interview.

While acknowledging that there might be Al Qaeda sent terrorists in Afghanistan that should be defeated, Karzai said: “But... Afghanistan does not has any Al Qaeda base or center or any such structural presence”.

Karzai also opposed efforts of the international forces for entering into peace agreement with the local commanders of the Taliban without involving his government.

Arguing that peace can’t be made at tactical levels, Karzai said: “When the American commander on the ground tries to make peace with certain commander of the Taliban, that’s not going to give us the results. That’s an obscure activity.”

“If you want to accomplish a local deal with a certain Taliban commander at a tactical level, good enough, but even that has to be done in agreement with the Afghan administration at the local provincial level,” he said.