U.S. moves to calm Karzai's anger over Taliban peace talks plan

London, June 20 (ANI): The United States is trying to save a plan to open peace talks with the Taliban amid a diplomatic row between Washington and the Afghan President Hamid Karzai over how the process was announced.

Repeated phone calls by US Secretary of State John Kerry have not mollified Karzai, who accused the Obama administration of duplicity.

Irritated by a press conference in Qatar at which the Taliban effectively portrayed itself as a government in exile, Karzai suspended talks on a long-term security deal to keep US troops in Afghanistan after NATO leaves in 2014, the Guardian reports.

According to the report, the Taliban infuriated Karzai by displaying a white Taliban flag and repeatedly referring to the 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan', the name the group used when they ruled from Kabul.

The Taliban also claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on the Bagram air base that killed four Americans on the same day that the tentative deal about talks was announced, the report said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Karzai said that he would not continue with the peace talks with the Taliban unless the US stepped out of the negotiations.

He also suspended talks with the US about handing over security to Afghan forces, citing the Taliban naming of its office as one of Kabul's concerns.

In a statement, Karzai said the office was totally contradictory to the guarantees that were made by the USA to Afghanistan.

According to the report, the US had pledged the Taliban would only be able to use the Doha as base for talks, not as a political platform.

Karzai felt the Tuesday press conference was a clear violation of that promise, an official Afghan source said.

Kerry rang Karzai after the initial announcement of talks began to rattle the Kabul government and again on Wednesday following the angry Afghan statement in response, the report added. (ANI)


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