Karzai: Night Raids Must End, Talking To Taliban

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Context

President Hamid Karzai has reiterated his reservations on the night raid conducted by US forces in Afghanistan. The night raid has also become an obstacle to a US-Afghan long-term strategic agreement. Karzai recently received a delegation of US lawmakers led by Senator John McCain and voiced out his objection to the night raid and demanded the transfer of US run prisons to Afghan authorities. Karzai has insisted that he will not sign any agreement until the raids end. US officials are trying to conclude a partnership agreement that would include role for US soldiers after the withdrawal in 2014.

McCain said that “We emphasize to President Karzai that we believe that this issue can be resolved but we are strongly opposed to any termination of night raids because of the added risk it would put to the men and women of our military.”

On Afghan reconciliation, President Hamid Karzai stated that his government is communicating with Taliban through intermediaries. On the other hand, Taliban have denied having any talks with the Afghan government. Karzai said that he has not directly talked to Mullah Omar, however, has contacts through intermediaries. Karzai stressed on the importance of talks with Taliban for regional stability, and for the inclusion of Pakistan.

The comments were made before Karzai’s visit to Pakistan, during which he asked Pakistani authorities for access to Quetta Shura and criticized Pakistan for lack of political will and sincerity. He also asserted that Taliban will never come to power again in total capacity.