WH: Talks with Taliban ‘Only Way to Ensure Peace and Stability of Afghanistan’

June 21, 2013 - 2:20 PM

Taliban

A still from a video on the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” website shows Taliban fighters in training. (Image: Taliban website)

(CNSNews.com) – Negotiating between the Taliban – the organization that once sheltered al Qaeda when it ruled Afghanistan – and the current Afghan government is the only way to achieve peace in the country after a 12-year war, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

“Whether it’s through this process or another, we will continue to pursue reconciliation and so will the Afghan government, because that is ultimately the only course to pursue for the long-term stability of the country,” Carney said when asked about the Taliban political office.

“It is difficult. Friends don’t negotiate with each other - enemies do – and it is hard to do this. I think conflicts throughout history demonstrate that, but in the end, it is the only way to ensure the peace and stability of Afghanistan in the future,” he said.

The Taliban opened a political office in Qatar, where it is set to negotiate with the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. However, it flew its flag over the office, along with a sign that said, “Mission of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan,” which is what the country was called when it was under Taliban rule from 1996 through 2001. It was during that time that the Taliban government gave refuge to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda before it was deposed by the United States after 9/11.

A reporter asked Carney about the flag and the sign and whether the U.S. government approved of the sign at the Taliban’s political office.

“What I can tell you is that there is obviously a great deal of mistrust, as you would expect, between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” Carney said. “This is a conflict that has been going on for 30 years and an active war that’s been going on for a decade.

“That mistrusts continues, and it will continue, and it will be difficult to bring the parties together to pursue a reconciliation process, but that process is essential to long-term stability of Afghanistan, and President Karzai has stated that he believes that and understands that. It is certainly our policy and our position here in the United States that that’s an important element here, an important step that has to be taken,” he said.

“Obviously, that mistrust has been manifested in the way the opening of this office has played out,” Carney said.

“We hope that the issues that have caused concern here can be resolved and that the office will be opened and that talks can be engaged in, but whether it’s through this process or another, we will continue to pursue reconciliation and so will the Afghan government, because that is ultimately the only course to pursue for the long-term stability of the country,” he said.

“It is difficult. Friends don’t negotiate with each other - enemies do – and it is hard to do this. I think conflicts throughout history demonstrate that, but in the end, it is the only way to ensure the peace and stability of Afghanistan in the future,” Carney added.