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Afghan peace talks should be held in Kabul, says Khar

December 12, 2012

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.—Reuters Photo (File)

PARIS: Peace talks between the Taliban and Afghan authorities should be held in Kabul and not on foreign soil, Pakistan's foreign minister said Wednesday, just days ahead of a meeting in Paris on Afghanistan's future.

Hina Rabbani Khar also told France's Le Monde daily that Islamabad did not wish to control the Afghan peace process.

“It's up to the Afghans to choose which method they think is good,” she said. “If they want to go to Washington, they can.”

“But we think that the best solution is to hold the talks on Afghan soil, in Kabul,” she said in remarks translated in French.

“The talks and negotiations cannot be held in Paris or in Berlin.” The Taliban are attending talks in Paris on December 19 and 20 on Afghanistan's future, where officials from President Hamid Karzai's government will be present. It is being organised by a French think-tank.

The foreign minister said the meeting was critical to how things would pan out in the run-up to Nato troops' 2014 pull-out and after.

“The national reconciliation between the Taliban and the government, as well as the capability of the Afghan forces to control their territory, are two key points,” she said.

“Otherwise, the hypothesis of civil war is not ruled out.” The Taliban have officially taken the line that they will not negotiate with the Kabul government, which they consider a puppet of the United States.