Karzai: I'd Meet With the Taliban
Al-Qaeda not welcome, but not all Taliban members are terrorists, he says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 3, 2009 9:26 AM CST
In this Nov. 19, 2009 file photo, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai greets the guards of honor as he arrives to the Presidential Palace for his inauguration in Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

(Newser) – Just two days after President Obama announced a 30,000 surge in troops for Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai reiterated his desire to make peace with the Taliban. In an interview with the AP today, the Afghan president said he would do "whatever it takes" to bring peace, including meeting with Taliban leader Mullah Omar. But Karzai says he wants guarantees that the US and its international partners are backing any peace bid.

He says previous talks with the Taliban were undermined when ex-members of the hardline movement were "harassed" by international forces even though they had quit the insurgency. Karzai says not all Taliban are terrorists, but members of al-Qaeda and other terror groups are not welcome in the country.