October 14th, 2010
10:37 AM ET

Head of Afghan panel optimistic over peace moves

A former Afghan president who heads a panel seeking peace discussions with the Taliban says he's optimistic that serious talks can be forged one day but cautioned that it will take time.

Burhanuddin Rabbani spoke to reporters on Thursday at a press conference the day after the Taliban issued a statement denying reports of contact between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Head of the High Peace Council, Rabbani said Afghan officials' "first steps" have been taken to pursue peace initiatives and some contacts have taken place.

"I feel a tendency among the Taliban that there were and there are some people who have a message for the preparation of peace process. But it will take time until this develops into a practical reality and good news. We are now at the beginning of the avenue and we have more things in front of us."

Rabbani says Taliban members have suggested tough conditions for talks and he is hopeful this "demonstrates that they also want negotiations to take place and that they have something to say."

Rabbani said there had been stages in Afghanistan where the government and the international community were not frequently talking about peace.

But he said he thinks that a view has emerged that "war cannot solve the problem of this country," a position that "has turned into a fact today."

"Considering this, everyone is convinced today that the issue should be solved through negotiations and political ways."

He said the government also has conditions and principles for talks. One is that the existence of the Afghan constitution cannot be negotiated, even though he said he's not against talk on modifying parts of the document.

Meanwhile, the Taliban says reports that its members have held talks with the Afghan government are "futile claims" and "baseless propaganda."

"It is a part and parcel of a regular psychological warfare of the enemy," the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said in a statement on Wednesday.

"We would like to make it clear that the stance of the Islamic Emirate is unequivocal and final regarding the negotiation - that is, holding negotiation with the enemy in conditions of their military presence in Afghanistan, is a waste of time."

The group cites comments made by Afghan President Hamid Karzai on CNN that unofficial talks with the Taliban have been taking place and other similar reports.

Karzai told CNN's "Larry King Live" that "we have been talking to the Taliban as countryman to countryman, talk in that manner."

In an interview aired Monday night, he said the talks are "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."

The Taliban statement says it won't "accept any kind of negotiation or cease-fire" unless the "invaders" pull out of the country.

"The enemy has never contacted the leaders of the Islamic Emirate, let alone holding any kind of talks with them. Nor any effort has been made by the enemy directly or indirectly to initiate contacts with the leadership of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."

It says any "minuscule numbers" of former Taliban officials who've surrendered or were detained don't represent the group.

The statement also calls the Afghanistan government's peace council "a contemplated endeavor" to distract attention and mislead Afghans.

– CNN's Matiullah Mati and Najibullah Sharifi contributed to this report

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soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Dindy.....

    Praise and uplift LORD "S name and bring prayers by his feet like sweet fragrance . Also we must ask lord to forgive our own sins too before we ask anything. I am sure it will work.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dindy.....

    These problems are not going to end from blaming each other . Please pray " God help all of us to come out from this terrible situation " God can do amazing things when we pray Honestly with correct words." .When pray God will change them and give wisdom to make the peace process work for everyone"s spiritual welfare.

    October 18, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Shirley Dick

    They don't want our troops in there and we don't want them here. Taliban would be wise to negotiate with the 68 person Peace Council even if some of them are former warlords and such. They are a world safety risk, left on their own who knows what kind of evil they would conjure up.

    October 14, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      Are they truly any less evil than the NATO forces over there with their own hidden agenda,such as exploiting Afghan natural resorces for the profit of the West and war profiteers? Let's just stop this useless war once and for all!

      October 15, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Daniel-2

        That's right Jerry!!! we can't have them stealing the $47 Million worth of iron ore. What terrible machines would they make with it???

        October 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Daniel-2

        Good grief Phunnie boy,you took the words right out of my mouth. They will use those resources to build more military machines in order to kill more people,the right-wing thugs!

        October 15, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jerry

        Don't be foolish daniel what they need is aluminum not iron. You cannot make steel UAV's.

        October 16, 2010 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. cp

    I hope the peace talks are a success. We need to get out of this war asap.

    October 14, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Very well stated,cp. Thank you.

      October 14, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joe Stalin

        That's right they should leave. That country should have been mine.

        October 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Patton

        Hey Phunnie boy,do you mind not usurping the ID of my good friend Joe? He was a very good man who just made some mistakes like all of us do. Why don't you post under your own name for a change?

        October 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan in Lafayette,IN

    The sooner such talks get under way,the better! We need to end this obscene war as soon as possible but NATO needs to drop it's hidden agenda first.

    October 14, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Lubin

      Dan,you said it all.

      October 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette,IN

        Well said Andrew NATO needs to drop their agenda of defeating the taliban. Who else will run Afghanistan when they leave?

        October 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joseph McCarthy

        The Communists should be running it,but I'm afraid that the Taliban killed off most of them. This is what's so tragic about Afghanistan.Afghanistan, like Pakistan needs a Communist government free of foreign rule.

        October 14, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |