Karzai to boycott talks with Taliban

London, June 19 (IANS) The Afghan government will not take part in peace talks with the Taliban unless the process is "Afghan-led", President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday, a day after the US said it would talk with the Taliban in their new office in Qatar.

Karzai said the opening of the Taliban office contradicted earlier US security guarantees to his government, BBC reported.

He said that in protest he would suspend talks with the US on its presence after NATO troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.

Meanwhile, four US soldiers died in a Taliban attack at the Bagram air base, the largest military base for US troops in Afghanistan.

A statement from Karzai's office said Afghan negotiators would stay away from the Qatar talks until "foreign powers" allowed the process to be run by Afghans.

"Unless the peace process is 'Afghanised', the High Peace Council is not attending the Taliban Qatar talks," BBC quoted the statement as saying.

The High Peace Council was set up by the government to lead peace efforts with the Taliban.

The fact that the Taliban opened a political office in Qatari capital Doha was "totally contradictory to the guarantees that were made by the US to Afghanistan", Karzai's statement added.

The office opened Tuesday, just hours after the US announced that it would begin direct talks with the outfit -- and on the same day that NATO handed over the security for the whole of the country to the Afghan government for the first time since the Taliban were ousted in 2001.

The White House demanded two preconditions for the talks -- that the Taliban make a statement supporting a peace process, and that it opposes the use of Afghan soil to threaten other countries. The Taliban accepted.

A ceasefire is not part of the preliminary negotiations, BBC said.

US President Barack Obama Wednesday said he always expected "friction" at the Afghan peace talks.

"My hope is that despite those challenges the process will proceed," Obama said during an official visit to Berlin.

"Ultimately we're going to need to see Afghans talking to Afghans about how they can move forward and end the cycle of violence, so they can start actually building their country," Obama said.

Afghanistan's National Security Council confirmed that Karzai suspended the fourth round of the bilateral security agreement talks.

"There is a contradiction between what the US government says and what it does regarding Afghanistan peace talks," the president's spokesman Aimal Faizi said.

He said Karzai also disagreed with the name given to the new Taliban office.

"We oppose the title the 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan' because such a thing doesn't exist," BBC quoted Faizi as saying.

Karzai also objected to the Taliban flag flying over the new premises.

The first formal meeting between US and Taliban representatives is expected to take place in Doha Thursday.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »