Karzai Calls Out to ‘Taliban Brothers’ in Victory Speech

Urges Taliban to Help Him Forge 'Strategic Relationship' with US

by Jason Ditz, November 03, 2009

Following the rather messy business of consolidating power after a particularly scandalous August election and a suddenly cancelled runoff vote, Afghan President Hamid Karzai appears set to move on to the very serious business of attempting to reconcile with the Taliban.

In his acceptance speech Karzai promised a more inclusive government and called on his “Taliban brothers” to come home and embrace his new government. Karzai has frequently talked about reconciling with members of the Taliban.

Karzai said the primary goal of his government was “national unity” and said that with the help of the Taliban and others they could strengthen their “strategic relationship,” particularly with America.

Officials have expressed hope that the Afghan government could eventually peel off some of the less ideological Taliban members, given sufficient effort and sufficient US cash. So far, however, this effort has been futile and Karzai’s dubious victory is likely to only add questions about the government’s legitimacy. Taliban leadership has ruled out any reconciliation until international forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

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