The Afghan president, who took office shortly after the 2001 US-led invasion brought down the Taliban regime, denied that Burhanuddin Rabbani’s assassination on Sept 20 had suspended his quest for talks with the Taliban. —File Photo

KABUL: In an interview marking the 10 years since the start of the war against the Taliban, President Hamid Karzai admitted on Friday that his government and the US-led Nato mission have failed to provide security to the Afghans.

President Karzai also told the BBC that he had not ruled out peace talks with the militants.

“We’ve done terribly badly in providing security to the Afghan people and this is the greatest shortcoming of our government and of our international partners,” he said.

“What we should do is to provide better, more predictable environment of security to the Afghan citizens, and that the international community and the Afghan government definitely have failed (to do),” he added.

The Afghan president, who took office shortly after the 2001 US-led invasion brought down the Taliban regime, denied that Burhanuddin Rabbani’s assassination on Sept 20 had suspended his quest for talks with the Taliban.

“We have not said that we will not talk to them. We’ve said we don’t know who to talk to, we don’t have an address,” he told the BBC. “We wanted to talk to them, but with the assassination of (former) president Rabbani, and by someone who came in the name of a messenger from Taliban, now we know that we don’t have an address to talk to,” Mr Karzai said.

Mr Karzai has promised to call a traditional assembly of national leaders, called a loya jirga, in order to decide on a peace strategy after coming under mounting calls to drop talks with the Taliban from the agenda entirely.

The Afghan government and US commanders allege that the Taliban militancy cannot be defeated unless its rear bases in Pakistan are eliminated, and have put mounting pressure on Islamabad to take action against the alleged sanctuaries.

“That problem, the sanctuaries in Pakistan, will not go away unless the government of Pakistan cooperates with Afghanistan, unless the international community cooperates in a meaningful, effective way to have it removed.”

President Karzai claimed that the militants couldn’t “lift a finger without the Pakistanis”.

“Definitely, the Taliban will not be able to move a finger without Pakistani support, The fact is the Taliban were and are stationed, in terms of their political headquarters and operational headquarters, in Pakistan.

“We all know that. The Pakistanis know that. We know that. We’re not saying this in a manner of accusation and reprimand.”

Mr Karzai added that he was not trying to inflame already strained relations between the two nations. “We are saying this in a manner of a statement intended towards a solution of the problem.”

Pakistan maintains that it cut off ties to the Taliban and other militants following the US invasion of Afghanistan.—Agencies

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