March 22nd, 2010
12:11 PM ET

Karzai holds peace talks with insurgents

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has held talks with representatives of a major insurgent group whose leader is known for anti-U.S. rhetoric and support for al Qaeda, officials said Monday.

Karzai's deputy spokesman Hamed Elmi told CNN the delegation from the Hizb-i-Islami group of maverick militant Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, which has been behind numerous deadly attacks in Afghanistan, had submitted a peace plan.

"We can confirm that the delegation is in Kabul, they have met with the president and they have a plan with them," Elmi said, adding that he had no knowledge of the plan's contents or any timeline for a government response.

"They have submitted the plan, we're looking at it and analyzing it and will make a decision when we've had time to read it."

Candace Rondeaux, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, described the talks as a "significant" step with global pressure mounting on Afghanistan to reconcile with insurgents as coalition troops plan their exit.

"It's certainly significant in the sense that the door is now open," she told CNN.

"The conversation about reconciliation has been catch-as-you can for the past 10 years but now the deadline to come up with some sort of resolution is really apparent, the pace has quickened."

However she said it would not necessarily pave the way for talks with the Taliban that Karzai's government has been seeking for several months.

Hekmatyar, a former prime minister who was a key figure in resistance to Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, has long been a thorn in the side of coalition forces struggling to make headway in their battle against the Taliban.

Once regarded by the Pentagon as a key military player, he has constantly shifted allegiances, at times expressing support for both the Taliban and al Qaeda, but also a willingness to work with the government if U.S. and NATO forces quit the country.

In a 2006 video message, Hekmatyar pledged backing for al Qaeda's leaders and promised to carry on the fight alongside them against the "infidels." He also called on Afghans to join the fight against U.S.-led troops.

Analysts say Hekmatyar's influence over Hizb-i-Islami may have waned in recent years as the group tries to legitimize itself as a political force in several Afghan regions, but he remains a potent threat to stability.

"He does have military forces at his command and he can make a lot of trouble," Rondeaux added.

The talks with Hizb-i-Islami came as NATO-led troops suffered their latest casualty with the death of a British soldier in Helmand province - the main theater of operations for a major international push against the Taliban.

Filed under: Karzai • Taliban
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. rob brander

    just remember one thing folks,your previous boys in the white house[beevis and butthead] spent alot of your tax dollars putting karzai into power,and true to your record on foreign policies you folks keep on dumping your tax dollars on a slowly but determined sinking ship[afghanistan].the next time you see karzai out in public,take notice to the boys in sunglasses guarding him. thats right folks,9years later and your tax dollars hard at work protecting a man who won't even trust his own people.2 terms of beevis and butthead and that u.n. poll seems to be correct that some countries citizens are slow learners.

    March 23, 2010 at 6:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. A. Smith, Oregon

    The CIA backed by their Pakistani counterpart ISI broke up the UN and Afghanistan President Karzi's ongoing PEACE TALKs with the Taliban commanders. CIA agents arrested several of the Taliban representatives leaving the UN envoys and Karzi envoys wondering what the hell was really going on.

    I rather doubt President Obama gave the CIA his approval to bust up a UN brokered Peace Deal that was underway with UN envoys and Taliban commanders. Did the CIA do this without approval?

    Isn't President Obama the Commander in Chief over the CIA?

    March 23, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. speaker of truth

    MY Response to Daniel, The fact remains, afghanistan is a region that really has never successfully been conquered. It is known as Khurasan. It took the Muslims 3 tries to break through in Afghanistan who who caravan raiders and small in number do to there tribal system. It was tribe for tribe. And The Muslims just conquered the 2 biggest empires of that time, the Persian and Byzantium, which btw They never called themselves Byzanriums, They called themselves Romans, So idk who made up that word! But when it came to going to Khurasan, It ook 3 times. Thats because its a nation who is known for there tough fighting. Alexander paid off these people so he could pass through to get to now Pakistan and India. In which case when he enetered the greeks split into 2 forces, Alexander arrived through Afghanistan with all his men and his general who went the other way were slaughtered, And only a couple made it through. The terrain is to tough. There are idk how many mountains with peaks of 20,000 feet, Dozens of them. If you have ever been on a mountain. I have been to the rockies at 9,000 feet, And there absolutly massive. So double that in size and now try climbing up it while someone is shooting down at you, That is why no one can win. The US has lost, not because they actually are ,losing, but because of Polotics, The US will never win a war. EVER AGAIN, it sgtarted with Vietnam, Now there is just to much protesting, Weopons technology has made fighting go sky high in pricing, so to get finacnial support is to difficult. And now the economy is in a mess, because of these 2 wars, thats why we are in a recession, We sure wernt before these 2 wars started. PLus daniel, wars have always been fought, and they will alwqays be fought, unfortunely, peace is not a word. Wars are not just going to stop one day and everyone is going to be all lovey dovey. Its somethign that will plague society and this world, until the sun dies in 4.5 billion years and human or any life will no longer be supported. sucks doesnt it!

    March 22, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. William Sawyer

    As soon as the Coalition forces leave, Afghanistan will go back to the way they were. Karzai cant be trusted so why not leave now.

    March 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Daniel

    I just hope this is not a C.I.A. payoff trying to bribe another Taliban to start killing other Taliban.The same thing happened in Chechnya,where the Russians hired some key insurgents there to kill other insurgents with success.My great hope is that this could possibly lead to a breakthrough in the peace process and maybe end the bloodshed.

    March 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. speaker of truth

    How is this a victory for the United States and its allies, Hizb e islami are seen as apostates by the Taliban and have been enemies with the taliban since the 80's, The Taliban drove out hizb e islami to take over Afghanistan in 1996. In which case the Taliban put Hekmatyar into exile to Iran. This is not a vicroty at all, Instead now your letting bandits join a goverment who is already seen as corrupt. Everytime a new goverment is installed they give pardons to whoever wants to join. So the same people and criminals eep joining every goerment in a ring around the rosie circle. And now you wonder why every 10 years someone else is in control. The majority of Afghans see this goverment as corrupt, as they set up checkpoints and take peoples money in order allow passage. And then you wonder why everyone is joining the Taliban. Look at the American civil war after the conferderates were defeated, none of there leaders were aloud any position of power. The ideology behind that is you dont want the same people who ruined it the first time back into it. Its going in a circle, and I think The evidence speaks for itself. This is a loss for the government, because hizb e islami are know for being bandits, just as the Northern alliance, Good job for making a great one two punch of corruption for now having both of these groups in the goverment, And now the support for the Taliban just went up 10 fold. Congrats US for allowing this type of Politics to go on. Surely this war is Lost,

    March 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan Lafayette,IN

    There should be no peace talks with the Taliban or al Qaeda! They all should be put on trial for human rights violation and if found guilty they should be put to death if they will continue use suicide bombers, killing and mutilating people. If there is no remorse then they must die!

    March 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. An Afghan

    Its simply sad to see the US who stood for women rights, justice, against terror etc., who fought against these very Taliban are now forcing Karzai into submitting the country to them. There are no "good" taliban or "bad" taliban, they are all evil, sadistic losers who should be buried. The whole ideology of these people need to be destroyed and you cannot do that striking deals with them allowing for the continuance of their existence..... sadly another war lost by the US and its western allies... another defeat for progressive society of Afghanistan... the women of Afghanistan are the biggest losers... as are all people who look at the US for help and support in Afghanistan...

    March 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mark

    Karzai is an idiot if he thinks he can trust Hekmatyar, who stabbed Masood in the back when he was allowed into government. Hekmatyr is just an agent of the ISI

    March 22, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |