Karzai ready to embrace Mullah Omar for Afghan peace | world | Hindustan Times
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Karzai ready to embrace Mullah Omar for Afghan peace

But there are doubts whether Taliban would be ready to talk to the Afghanistan president.

world Updated:

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has said he is willing to hold talks with the Taliban in order to ensure peace and stability in the country.

But there are doubts whether the latter would be ready to talk to a regime that they consider a "puppet" of the United States.

The US too is opposed to talking to the Taliban, German magazine Der Spiegel has said in its latest issue.

"I will embrace Mullah Omar and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar for peace in Afghanistan, for stability in Afghanistan.

<b1>But it is the Afghan people who should decide on the atrocities committed against the Afghan people," Karzai told the magazine.

This statement is in keeping with the olive branch that he has been offering even as the Taliban, ousted from power in Kabul in 2001, have resurged in a big way and threatened to launch a spring offensive, using their base in neighbouring Pakistan.

But Karzai is hoping to persuade pragmatics to split from the hardliners. He would even consider including Taliban in his government, he said.

According to Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, the former Taliban foreign minister, negotiations have to take place "at the highest level" to prevent the war from spreading throughout the entire country.

"The talks should include all the parties," the magazine quoted him as saying.

Muttawakil, who also served as Mullah Omar's spokesman under the Taliban regime, surrendered to the Americans following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

He now lives in Kabul and still maintains good ties with the Taliban leadership.

Muttawakil and Karzai met last week in the presidential palace in the Afghan capital for a five-hour meeting to exchange ideas, the report disclosed.

But it is unclear how effective this strategy might be. While Karzai is willing to consider all the options to try to prevent further bloodshed, the Americans refuse point blank to hold talks with the Taliban. And the feeling appears to be mutual, the magazine says.

The Quetta Shura, the Taliban council that controls the Islamist seminaries in Quetta in Pakistan, has ruled out any compromises with the "puppet government" in Kabul.

The resurgent Taliban have used the tribal border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan as a stronghold to regroup, a charge that Pakistan has denied vehemently earlier, but, shown the evidence, has argued that curbing them is as much Kabul's responsibility as Islamabad's.

Under pressure from Washington, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has launched a crackdown on the Islamic militants in recent weeks. Former Taliban defence minister Mullah Obaidullah Akhund is reported to have been arrested in Pakistan last week, according to Western media reports, although the Pakistani government has not confirmed this.

Five more Taliban are being held after a raid in Quetta last weekend.

The magazine says that Musharraf has been reluctant to launch a full assault on the Taliban leadership in Pakistan.

However, the visit by US Vice President Dick Cheney last week seems to have had some affect. Cheney asked Musharraf to do more to hunt down Taliban fighters on the border with Afghanistan.

Musharraf fears that the Islamist extremists, who up to now have been able to move relatively freely in the southwest of the country, could start to attack him and his regime. Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has said he is willing to hold talks with the Taliban in order to ensure peace and stability in the country.

But there are doubts whether the latter would be ready to talk to a regime that they consider a "puppet" of the United States.

The US too is opposed to talking to the Taliban, German magazine Der Spiegel has said in its latest issue.

"I will embrace Mullah Omar and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar for peace in Afghanistan, for stability in Afghanistan.

But it is the Afghan people who should decide on the atrocities committed against the Afghan people," Karzai told the magazine.

This statement is in keeping with the olive branch that he has been offering even as the Taliban, ousted from power in Kabul in 2001, have resurged in a big way and threatened to launch a spring offensive, using their base in neighbouring Pakistan.

But Karzai is hoping to persuade pragmatics to split from the hardliners. He would even consider including Taliban in his government, he said.

According to Mullah Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, the former Taliban foreign minister, negotiations have to take place "at the highest level" to prevent the war from spreading throughout the entire country.

"The talks should include all the parties," the magazine quoted him as saying.

Muttawakil, who also served as Mullah Omar's spokesman under the Taliban regime, surrendered to the Americans following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

He now lives in Kabul and still maintains good ties with the Taliban leadership.

Muttawakil and Karzai met last week in the presidential palace in the Afghan capital for a five-hour meeting to exchange ideas, the report disclosed.

But it is unclear how effective this strategy might be. While Karzai is willing to consider all the options to try to prevent further bloodshed, the Americans refuse point blank to hold talks with the Taliban. And the feeling appears to be mutual, the magazine says.

The Quetta Shura, the Taliban council that controls the Islamist seminaries in Quetta in Pakistan, has ruled out any compromises with the "puppet government" in Kabul.

The resurgent Taliban have used the tribal border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan as a stronghold to regroup, a charge that Pakistan has denied vehemently earlier, but, shown the evidence, has argued that curbing them is as much Kabul's responsibility as Islamabad's.

Under pressure from Washington, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has launched a crackdown on the Islamic militants in recent weeks. Former Taliban defence minister Mullah Obaidullah Akhund is reported to have been arrested in Pakistan last week, according to Western media reports, although the Pakistani government has not confirmed this.

Five more Taliban are being held after a raid in Quetta last weekend.

The magazine says that Musharraf has been reluctant to launch a full assault on the Taliban leadership in Pakistan.

However, the visit by US Vice President Dick Cheney last week seems to have had some affect. Cheney asked Musharraf to do more to hunt down Taliban fighters on the border with Afghanistan.

Musharraf fears that the Islamist extremists, who up to now have been able to move relatively freely in the southwest of the country, could start to attack him and his regime.