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Abdullah calls for caution, transparency in Taliban reconciliation effort

A key initiative to emerge from the conference on Afghanistan in London was a plan to reconcile with Taliban militants who renounce violence. FRANCE 24's Raphael Kahane spoke about the matter with former Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

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One of the key initiatives to emerge from the international conference on Afghanistan in London last week was Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s plan – backed by Western powers -- to reconcile with Taliban militants willing to renounce violence.

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A few days later in Davos, FRANCE 24 correspondent Raphael Kahane spoke about the matter with former Afghan Foreign Minister and presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah. Abdullah welcomed the initiative, but was explicit about how he thought the process of reconciliation should work: Since the “top echelon” of Taliban chiefs are not ready to talk, any reconciliation efforts would need to begin with “reaching out to the people on the ground”, he said. According to Abdullah, people are joining the Taliban because of “injustices, corruption, bad governance, and absence of rule of law” in Afghanistan.

After outreach to Afghan citizens, Abdullah said, “the door has to be open for any elements of Taliban which give up violence, accept the Afghan constitution, and severe its links with terrorism”.

Abdullah, who has charged that Karzai’s election had “no legal basis” after more than one million votes were deemed fraudulent, called for transparency in any Afghan government dealings with the Taliban. He has proposed a national debate to take place before any member of the Afghan government engages in talks with Taliban militants. “The people of Afghanistan should know about every single bit of what is happening,” he insisted. “Their voices have to be heard.”

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