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Why Hamid Karzai considers Taliban as his ‘brothers’

“I realized early into my tenure as president that this war is not our conflict, and we Afghans are just being used against each other – the republic against the Taliban and the Taliban against us," Karzai said.

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In an interview with Der Spiegel former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai has explained why he considers Taliban as his brothers.

He was asked: “the Taliban are the very specter of terror in Afghanistan, threatening anyone who works with the government in Kabul with death. Yet you call the Taliban your “brothers.” Why?”

Karzai replied:  “I realized early into my tenure as president that this war is not our conflict, and we Afghans are just being used against each other – the republic against the Taliban and the Taliban against us. Both the Afghan Republic and the Taliban are victims of these external forces. That is why we are suffering.”

Hamid Karzai, 63, was the first elected president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014 and is the leader of the Pashtun Popalzai. During the civil war in the 1990s, Karzai initially supported the Taliban. He later stood against oppression by radical Islamists and helped the U.S. overthrow the Taliban government. Karzai is considered the country’s most influential politician, even after his active term in office. He is currently mediating between the contending elites in order to negotiate peace after the U.S. withdrawal and to organize resistance against the Taliban.

The host also asked him who is playing against whom here? Karzai was of the view that “after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., Washington took the historic opportunity to pursue its global ambitions in Afghanistan. Just look at our position on the map.”

He also added that “Afghanistan is the most strategically important place in today’s global contest for supremacy. At the same time, Pakistan started using the Taliban to further its own agenda in Afghanistan.”

Moreover, Karzai was asked: “Has Kabul to recognize the Durand Line as the official national border, could that alone be the price of peace?”

Karzai said: “If we could have a relationship with Pakistan similar to the model of the European Union, perhaps a solution could be found. The Durand Line would then be a zone rather than a fixed border, and would formally continue to exist. We want an open exchange between people on both sides, without border controls, and with freedom of movement, similar to what Europeans have achieved today between Germany and France.”

Read more: Blinken leaves NATO allies waiting on US Afghan decision

The relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has generally been shaky due to the issue of the Durand Line. Pakistan expects it to be resolved after careful fencing being done these days.

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