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Afghan president says U.S. should start talks with Taliban or leave

(Reuters) - President Hamid Karzai appeared to stiffen his resolve on Saturday not to sign a security pact with Washington, saying the United States should leave Afghanistan unless it could restart peace talks with the Taliban.

"In exchange for this agreement, we want peace for the people of Afghanistan. Otherwise, it's better for them to leave and our country will find its own way," Karzai told a news conference.

The president said pressing ahead with talks with the Taliban, in power from 1996-2001, was critical to ensure that Afghanistan was not left with a weak central government.

"Starting peace talks is a condition because we want to be confident that after the signing of the security agreement, Afghanistan will not be divided into fiefdoms," he said.

Most diplomats now agree that Karzai is unlikely to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that would allow for some form of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after the end of 2014, when most troops are due to leave.

Along with reviving peace talks with the Taliban, Karzai is also demanding an end to all U.S. military operations on Afghan homes and villages, including strikes by pilotless trones.

The United States has threatened to pull all of its troops out unless a deal is signed in good time, but embassies are examining alternative solutions behind the scenes that would enable the NATO-led mission to remain.

Karzai's defiant tone struck a chord with those in the West who have already decided that further discussion with the Afghan president may be pointless and waiting for his successor to be elected is the best option.

"The more people speak about it being signed after the election, the more irrelevant he becomes," said one diplomat. "Sad as it is, we might have to bank on the next guy."

But representatives from some countries say this would not leave enough time for them to prepare for a post-2014 mission. Afghans are due to vote in a presidential election on April 5, but it could take weeks for Karzai's successor to assume power if a run-off round is required.

Karzai initially agreed to a text of the pact in November and an assembly of elders called on him to sign it. But he has since refused to sign.

In his comments to reporters, the Afghan president also denounced the use of advertising - some paid for by the United States - that lobbies for signature of the BSA.

"To harm the psyche and soul of the people of Afghanistan, there is serious propaganda going on," said Karzai, referring to the advertisements broadcast for weeks by local media but now taken off the air.

"No pressure, no threat, no psychological war can force us to sign the BSA. If they want to leave, they should leave today. We will continue our living."

(Reporting by Mirwais Harooni and Jessica Donati; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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reynold1 January 25 2014 at 9:02 AM

This crook needs to go

Flag Reply +5 rate up
snntd January 25 2014 at 9:09 AM

To hell with Karzai and the whole place. Pack 'em up and leave. Let him play with the Taliban; they would love to have his head on a stick. The current admin has made such a mess of their foreign policy that nothing we have to offer will do. Bring 'em home and put them on the southern border.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
Mike Odette snntd January 25 2014 at 9:12 AM

Well said, Sir! My sentiments exactly!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
michaelawspn January 25 2014 at 9:10 AM

All of the middle easy does not appreciate what we have done nor understand what we are striving to achieve.
They, in reality, despise the US as much as the Taliban or all other radicals.
The US should get out and let them fall back into anarchy but politics control everything, not morals values and integrity.
Every country over there would in the blink of an eye jump on the band wagon of they though the US could fall, even the ones we "Think" are our allies. They despise us.!
Sad what this world is evolving to.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
kuemster January 25 2014 at 9:09 AM

This guy is an not to be trusted !Bring our troop's home and let him deal with the crap and stop helping these people such not trust any of them and stop all help

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dan103152 January 25 2014 at 9:10 AM

Time to leave that country. Get our military out now and keep our money out also.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
caugferg January 25 2014 at 9:10 AM

F%#& Karzai and Afghanistan, we've lost to many lives and had too many soldiers wounded trying to help these rock living cockroaches. All they want is U.S. money! Let them all go to hell! We should just nuke the bastards and move on!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Spinnaker January 25 2014 at 9:04 AM

Really, really (really) sick of this guy. I suppose there is no nuclear option, but carpet bombing with B-52's over the damn opimum poppy fields would be my first retor.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
arsquash Spinnaker January 25 2014 at 6:36 PM

Yes thats what we are good at...NO BOOTS ON THE GROUNG WARRIORS...kill 80% civilians on a carpet bombing run. And you bafoon, when was carpet bombing effective in the mountains??

Flag Reply 0 rate up
fldpwrman January 25 2014 at 9:04 AM

Here's some strong words in response CYA

Flag Reply +5 rate up
wood1966 January 25 2014 at 9:02 AM

Screw HIM. Get the troops out NOW. Get so balls OB and walk away

Flag Reply +8 rate up
2 replies
lawings4 wood1966 January 25 2014 at 9:13 AM

he doesn't have any

Flag Reply +1 rate up
plsgd2014 wood1966 January 25 2014 at 9:17 AM

his agenda as I keep saying ----1 our economy 2. OUR military.......did you not see the new Pentagon 'uniforms' allowed for the military???

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Frank January 25 2014 at 9:10 AM

if Mr K wants the Talabn so be it. The Talabin will have to give hin the Billions instead of us SUCKERS

Flag Reply +2 rate up
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