Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, has expressed anger over recent word that the US has opened peace negotiations with Taliban forces after nearly 12 years of on-going conflict.
This recent change in the US approach to dealing with the Taliban comes during talks with Karzai’s government regarding a coming large-scale handover of security duties.
NATO is expected to exit Afghanistan in 2014, spurring current discussions between Afghanistan and the US over how to handle security after that.
The Taliban and US forces have been in conflict following an US-led invasion of the nation in 2001. US leadership, convinced the Taliban was harboring terrorists involved in the September 11 terror attacks, invaded near the end of the year.
The Taliban government was ousted swiftly. In the years since, however, the Taliban and their supporters have turned to guerrilla warfare and terror-based tactics.
Years of US military attempts at eliminating the Taliban, who have since fled to Pakistan, are proving unsuccessful.
Since deposing the Taliban, the US helped to establish a new government with Hamid Karzai taking charge as elected leader. The Taliban has made no secret about their distaste for Karzai’s government, leading to a mutual animosity between the old and new rulers of Afghanistan.
Tuesday the Taliban opened a “political office” in Doha, Qatar. CNN reports that Karzai claimed “foreign powers” were behind this move. It is in the new Qatar office that US diplomats are expected to begin new discussions with Taliban forces on Thursday.
Sources at The Guardian say the Taliban have hinted at ending ties with Al Qaeda, encouraging discussions with the US.
Karzai, however, believes this is a “contradiction between acts and the statements” made by the US. As he has claimed before, Karzai believes this to be another act of US, Taliban, and foreign powers working to keep Afghanistan destabilized.
[Image via Harald Dettenborn / Wikimedia Commons]