October 11th, 2010
09:28 AM ET

Karzai to CNN: Unofficial talks taking place with Taliban

Watch the entire exclusive interview by Larry King with Hamid Karzai on "Larry King Live" at 9 p.m. ET Monday.

Attempting to advance his nation's peace progress with insurgents, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said unofficial negotiations with the Taliban have been taking place and hopes the formation of a peace council will further those efforts.

"We have been talking to the Taliban as countryman to countryman, talk in that manner," Karzai told CNN's "Larry King Live" in an interview scheduled to air Monday night. "Not as a regular official contact with the Taliban with a fixed address, but rather unofficial personal contacts have been going on for quite some time."

In excerpts of the interview released Sunday, Karzai also spoke on the High Peace Council, an initiative headed by former Afghan President Buhanuddin Rabbani and tasked with boosting negotiations with Taliban insurgents.

"The Taliban, those of whom who are Afghans and the sons of Afghan soil, who have been driven to violence by various factors beyond their control and beyond ours caused by circumstances in Afghanistan, we want them to come back to their country," Karzai said. "They are like kids who have run away ... from the family. The family should try to bring them back and give them better discipline and incorporate them back into their family and society. President Rabbani assuming chairmanship today of the peace council is exactly in that spirit."

However, the Afghan government will work against groups like al Qaeda, he said. "But those who are a part of al Qaeda and the other terrorist networks who are ideologically against us or who are working against Afghanistan knowingly and out of the purpose of hatred and enmity - those of course we have to work against. Whether they are against Afghanistan or whether they are al Qaeda and the terrorist war against the United States or our neighbors in Pakistan, those of course cannot be accepted."

Karzai's remarks about the unofficial contacts with the Taliban came when the president was asked about a Washington Post report that secret high-level talks between the government and the Taliban were underway.

"Now that the peace council has come into existence, these talks will go on, and will go on officially and more rigorously, I hope," Karzai said.

The Afghan president denied a report that he has been diagnosed as manic-depressive in a book by veteran Washington journalist Bob Woodward. In his book "Obama's Wars," Woodward cited U.S. intelligence reports. "He's on his meds; he's off his meds," Woodward quoted U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry as saying about Karzai.

"The only medication that I have taken is an antibiotic called Augmentin," when suffering from a cold two years ago, Karzai told King. He said from time to time, he also takes vitamin C, multivitamins and Tylenol, "when I have a headache or when I'm tired."

He denied being manic-depressive, calling the story "rather funny."

Asked about the planned drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan next summer, and relations with President Barack Obama, Karzai said, "Relations with President Obama are very good" and the two are in regular contact and had a video conference about five days ago.

"The relation with the U.S. government is generally good," he said. "There is a strategic relationship between us, partnerships toward an objective - that's security for us and security for the United States and the rest of the world."

"On the staying power of the United States in Afghanistan, the Afghan people have been abandoned before when we fought the Soviets," he said. "When we defeated communism and the Soviets, the international community supported us, but then after their defeat we were abandoned and forgotten immediately, including by the United States."

He said the fear the same thing could happen lingers among the Afghans, and he has not been able to reassure them.

"I hope the United States of America and our other allies will help us through good means so we can reassure the Afghan people that this partnership is staying and that Afghanistan will emerge out of this current transition into a better country, a better economy and a more stronger, effective state," Karzai said.

Filed under: Karzai • Taliban
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com

    Karzai to cnn unofficial talks taking place with taliban.. Ho-o-o-o-t 🙂

    April 21, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sad

    I wonder how the afgan women feel about talking to the Taliban???/ I cant wrap my head around the fear they must feel!! They kill women and children if they go to school or powder their nose!! We need to get our brave troops out of that country, these murders aren,t going anywhere.

    October 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LarryKegel(US Army)

    Israeli PM offers conditional settlements freeze
    WRCB Chattanooga Mon, 11 Oct 2010 09:29 AM PDT
    Israel's prime minister on Monday offered to extend a moratorium on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank, but only if the Palestinians meet his demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

    October 12, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Zolar

    This only shows that the war in Afghanistan is senseless. The US & NATO forces are running after the Taliban, but President Karzai are going buddy-buddy with the Taliban. Now who is the stupid idiot here?

    October 12, 2010 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      You got that right,Zolar. We need to let them reconcile and have NATO pull out of there and have the right-wing thugs in Washington drop their hidden agenda.

      October 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • Daniel-2

        Yes Dan we must have them drop their hidden agenda of stealing the Afghan iron ore, there is billions of dollars of ore just waiting for the right wing supporters and the MIF to steal.

        October 13, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mechatronics

    I cant figure out who the bigger idiot is. Larry King or Hamid Karzai.

    October 11, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jjh1954

    Karzai has good reason to be depressed. Should the Taliban return to power, a likely prospect in Pakghanistan, he will suffer the same fate as Najibulah, his Soviet supported predecessor. Medication does not help when reality stares you in the face. How much money have we spent doing whack-a-mole trying to kill Osama bin Ladin when he is in the Paki part of Pakghanistan?

    October 11, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John

    I say let's put an end to this obnoxious war once and for all!!! I'm sick and tired of all the unnecessary carnage and needless suffering this war has already caused just for the benefit of the right-wing thugs in Washington!

    October 11, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette,IN

      Very well stated,John. Thank you.

      October 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • John

        Thank you Dan!!!i think i am right too!!!???

        October 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. two cents

    One world government, get to that point, you know there are over 400 known planets, many of which potentially have life (earth-like). Stop the bs and lets get organized.

    October 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kerry

      You don't seem to agree with this one neflight i wonder why!

      October 16, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. two cents

    this country must come to terms with the fact that we will be more like a european nation in the near future, china's army grows more technologically advanced every waking moment – they have a lot of them.

    October 11, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • neflight

      two cents gives good Ideas which are true

      October 12, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. two cents

    pull all us influence out of the mid-east, start producing energy here in the us so that when china takes over the military spectrum we can still be the dominat energy + agricultural society in the world,

    October 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • neflight

      very true two cents

      October 12, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. Rybrid

    If someone asked me about the medications I took I's spit in there face!

    October 11, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JohnDPublic

    The people of Afghanistan need to get off the fence and quit kissing up to the Devil, be it the USA or the Taliban. The problem as I see it is that they are not united at all. Each Village , each tribe is a man alone. They will not achieve independence with out solidarity.

    October 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Albert

    I did loved to hear the most important thing here. The intentions and goals is to create a stable strong state in peace with the rest of the world. This excludes automatically a safe haven for jihadist lunatics. Therefore I believe Karzai and Afghanistan deserves our (EU) help and assistance, even if it is needed for a very long time in the years to come.

    October 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jme0598

    Regarding Karzai's purported "manic-depressive" illness, even if Karzai were manic depressive there are plenty of people in very high positions of society who do just fine with brain disorders and lead productive lives. That this came out this only serves to prove USA government is an enabler and really has absolutely no interest in developing Afghanistan into a self sufficient and independent nation. Disclosing that someone has a medical condition without their permission is in violation of USA HIPAA laws. That Karzai is not a USA citizen is not an excuse that makes it OK to do this as the primary reason why HIPAA in place is to protect people's privacy and dignity. That USA would do something on purpose like this as a deliberate attempt to humiliate Karzai is both disgusting and wrong.

    October 11, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. Andrew Lubin

    Karzai better talk to the Taliban. His citizens generally like them more than him, which makes it very difficult for our troops to succeed //

    October 11, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |