Former President Hamid Karzai says Americans are discussing military bases with the Taliban during their talks and that he believes that the United States forces are not going to leave Afghanistan.
Addressing the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, Karzai said he also believes that Pakistan and the United States can play a key role in bringing peace to Afghanistan.
“I am among those who believe that Americans are not going to leave Afghanistan,” Karzai said when he was asked about his concerns regarding a possible withdrawal of a “significant” number of US forces from Afghanistan.
“They (US forces) didn’t come to leave, so they will stay in Afghanistan at least in the form of the bilateral security agreement, the bases, and thus I believe that the conversation that the Americans have with the Taliban as well on the bases. So, they will not go,” Karzai said.
The former President said the peace process will not succeed if it is not fully Afghan-led and that if it does not enjoy support from the neighboring countries and the region.
“One that it (the peace process) has to be thoroughly and effectively and fundamentally based on an intra-Afghan dialogue, two, that it has to be recognized and seen in clear transparency by all of the Afghan people, it has to be for all of the Afghan people, for the all of the Afghan nation. Three, it has to have the support of the neighbors and the region, for it to succeed, it cannot succeed otherwise. Fourth and the most important, we differentiate between peace and a deal between the United States and Pakistan on Afghanistan,” he said.
Karzai meanwhile emphasized Pakistan and the United States’ role in bringing peace to Afghanistan and said Afghans have recognized that role.
“I am also emphasizing that we know that Pakistan has the most significant role to play for bringing peace to Afghanistan, perhaps second is the United States or both are equally important in bringing peace to Afghanistan and that role is recognized by us and we want Pakistan to play that role,” he said.
He mentioned that the Afghan peace should be achieved through Afghan-led efforts not through a deal between the United States and Pakistan.
“We don’t want a deal between the United States and Pakistan on Afghanistan, but we do want a peace process in which Pakistan plays an important role and in which the United states is also, including India, including Russia and China and Iran as well,” Karzai said.
Karzai’s remarks come amid increasing efforts by the Afghan government and the international community to find a peaceful solution to the war in Afghanistan.
Analysts suggest that the Afghan government has been “sidelined” from the peace talks. However, the Afghan government has rejected such claims and has emphasized that it is involved in the whole process.
In line with Afghan government’s efforts for peace, President Ghani’s special envoy Umer Daudzai is in a four-day visit to Pakistan where so far he has held talks with Pakistani officials as well as political and religious leaders.