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Aide: Karzai ‘very angry’ at Taliban boss’ arrest


At the time, Afghan government was holding secret talks with group’
s No. 2
Karzai "was very angry" when he heard that the
Pakistanis had picked up Baradar with an assist
from U.S. intelligence, the adviser said. Besides
the ongoing talks, he said Baradar had "given a
green light" to participating in a three-day peace
jirga that Karzai is hosting next month.

The adviser, who had knowledge of the peace


talks, spoke on condition of anonymity because of
their sensitivity. Other Afghan officials, including
Abdul Ali Shamsi, security adviser to the governor
of Helmand province, also confirmed talks
between Baradar and the Afghan government.
Several media reports have suggested that
B.k.bangash / AP file Baradar had been in touch with Karzai
representatives, but these are the first details to
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, right, emerge from the discussions.
welcomes Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai for
bilateral talks at the prime minister's official residence
and office, in Islamabad, Pakistan, on March 11. Few details about Baradar’s arrest
Talking with the Taliban is gaining traction in
Afghanistan as thousands of U.S. and NATO
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updated 5:22 p.m. ET,Mon., March. 15, 2010

KABUL - The Afghan government was holding


secret talks with the Taliban's No. 2 when he was
captured in Pakistan, and the arrest infuriated
President Hamid Karzai, according to one of
Karzai's advisers.

The detention of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar —


second in the Taliban only to one-eyed Mullah
Mohammed Omar — has raised new questions
about whether the U.S. is willing to back peace
discussions with leaders who harbored the
terrorists behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35880751/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia 3/16/2010
Aide: Karzai ‘very angry’ at Taliban boss’ arrest - Afghanistan- msnbc.com Page 2 of 3

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reinforcements are streaming in to reverse the At a breakfast meeting in Islamabad last week,
Taliban's momentum. That has prompted Pakistan Karzai said he and his Western allies were at odds
and others to stake out their positions on possible over who should be at the negotiating table.
reconciliation negotiations that could mean an Karzai said the United States was expressing
endgame to the eight-year war. reservations about talks with the top echelon of
the Taliban while the British were "pushing for an
Officials have disclosed little about how Baradar acceleration" in the negotiation process.
was nabbed last month in the port city of Karachi.
The Pakistanis were said to be upset that the "Our allies are not always talking the same
Americans were the source of news reports about language," he said.
his arrest.
Karzai said overtures to the Taliban stood little
The capture was part of a U.S.-backed crackdown chance of success without the support of the
in which the Pakistanis also arrested several other United States and its international partners. He
Afghan Taliban figures along the porous border says his previous attempts to negotiate with
between the two countries, after years of being insurgents were not fruitful because "sections of
accused by Washington of doing little to stop the international community undermined — not
them. backed — our efforts."

Far from expressing gratitude, members of The U.S. has said generally that it supports efforts
Karzai's administration were quick to accuse to welcome back any militants who renounce
Pakistan of picking up Baradar either to sabotage violence, cut ties with al-Qaida and recognize and
or gain control of talks with the Taliban leaders. respect the Afghan constitution, but it is keeping
details of its position closely held.
Whatever the reason, the delicate dance among
Karzai, his neighbors and international partners Daniel Markey with the Council on Foreign
put the debate over reconciliation on fast forward.
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Top United Nations and British officials


emphasized last week that the time to talk to the
Taliban is now. The Afghan government, for its
part, has plans to offer economic incentives to
coax low- and midlevel fighters off the
battlefield. Another driving force is President
Barack Obama's goal of starting to withdraw U.S.
troops in July 2011.

The United States, with nearly 950 lives lost and


billions of dollars spent in the war, is moving with
caution on reconciliation.

At odds over who should be at table

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Relations said that while Karzai is having issue and leading to confusion among our allies,"
discussions with senior people on the Taliban side, she said.
"it's not clear that Washington or other members
of the international community have weighed in as "The military surge should be given time to bear
to what they believe are the red lines or proper fruit," Curtis argued. "Insurgents are more likely to
boundaries with respect to negotiations with the negotiate if they fear defeat on the battlefield."
Taliban."
CONTINUED : In talks with Baradar
During his trip to Afghanistan last week, Defense 1 | 2 | Next >
Secretary Robert Gates said it was premature to
expect senior members of the Taliban to reconcile
with the government. He said until the insurgents
believe they can't win the war, they won't come to
the table. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham
Clinton has said she's highly skeptical that Taliban
leaders will be willing to renounce violence.

Timing of outreach still under debate


A U.S. military official in Kabul, who spoke on
condition of anonymity to discuss reconciliation,
said the top commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen.
Stanley McChrystal, has not yet solidified his
opinion on this issue.

He said the U.S. is still debating the timing of the


Afghan government's outreach to senior leaders of
three main Afghan insurgent groups — Omar;
Jalaluddin Haqqani, who runs an al-Qaida-linked advertisement
organization; and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the boss
of the powerful Hezb-e-Islami.

The official added that the international military


coalition had no problem with the Afghan
government's reaching out to anyone, at any time,
but is concerned that a deal to end the violence
not come at too high a price.

Deep differences remain within the Obama


administration on reconciliation, said Lisa Curtis, a
research fellow on South Asia for the Heritage
Institute, a right-leaning think tank in
Washington. "This disagreement is contributing to
a lack of clarity in U.S. official statements on the

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35880751/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia 3/16/2010