‘Preposterous’ Karzai Demands Derail Efforts at Taliban Peace Talks

Optimistic Talks With Pakistan, Iran End in Hostility

by Jason Ditz, February 17, 2012

A high profile meeting in Islamabad today looked to see Pakistan and Iran helping Afghan President Hamid Karzai kickstart his own peace talks, independent of the ongoing US-Taliban talks which the Karzai government has mostly been sidelined from.

The talks ended in failure, however, when Karzai began making demands of the Pakistani government, demanding that they turn over Mullah Omar directly for the talks.

Pakistan said it was “preposterous” to even imagine that they would be able to turn over Omar, saying that Karzai had “ridiculous expectations” of what the talks could accomplish and no real common ground from which to start.

Karzai had started by asking Pakistan to “use their influence” to bring the Taliban into talks. The Taliban had long rejected such talks, saying that Karzai had no power of his own and that it made no sense to negotiate with him so long as there was a massive NATO occupation ongoing.

While Pakistan showed some willingness to try to help Karzai get some talks going, they sought to downplay expectations, saying they don’t have direct control over the Taliban leadership.

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