Sharing power with the Taliban? Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai interview – BBC News

the u.s has put forward this proposal of a transitional and interim government in which the taliban would play some role you see that as a positive development peace can only come through such an arrangement if the taliban and the republic side want to end hostilities there are only two ways for that one is that the taliban agreed to join the current government the taliban don't agree to that then the only other option is a transitional arrangement in which both sides agree on a functioning system and then through that functioning system work for the amendment of the constitution at the moment though president ghani he says there needs to be elections you can't just conjure up a government out of nowhere is he does he need to be more flexible you think well for for peace of course we we all need to be very very very flexible for all of us the country and the life of our people should be the priority he wants an election if the taliban can issue that it's good enough for us doesn't seem to be any sign that that doesn't happen then what do we do we agree with him that there must be an election but if that doesn't happen then we allow the country to keep staying in this very unfortunate conflict and now in that case it's upon all of us including president ghani to think of an alternative and once you step away from transition governed by elections you don't know when you're going to see it again the afghan people want a democratic setup we are simply think talking of a period in which an arrangement can be made for all the afghan sides to get together and form unity and through that unity a functioning order to take us to the to the to to the next democratic order there seems no indication that the taliban are willing to accept democratic elections whether it's now or whether it's in two years time do you think i have had no indication that they will say no to elections elections are very much islamic if that's the concern in a interim or transitional arrangement could you uh do you envisage a role for yourself perhaps another presidency for yourself no no no not at all i've had 14 years of my time in office and that's plenty enough well you seem quite categorical very very categorical very very categorical what i'm working for is not politics on a political role what i'm working for is peace for our people it seems almost inevitable there will have to be at least some rolling back of the progress made on women's rights in order to bring the taliban into any kind of power sharing arrangement not necessarily how can we not allow afghan women to be part of our uh political and social life they are and they will be and then if we're looking at retaining democratic elections retaining women's rights as we currently have them all things that many in the international community and many people here in afghanistan would of course welcome what is it that is being offered to the taliban that's going to bring them in from the outside in pakistan women have the best opportunities for education bangladesh is an islamic country is a muslim country they have had two prime ministers who that has not taken away their islamic character so nor will that happen in afghanistan and how worried are you about the prospect of american troops withdrawing by may the first before any kind of agreement is done if no agreement they shouldn't the americans want to withdraw and withdraw completely they must be responsible in making sure that there's no chaos or that things don't go from bad to worse and that issue must work with the major powers in the country of the region to get that done which the i see now they're doing but if they want to stay in afghanistan beyond you know may 1st into the long term in any form that too has to be responsible isn't the danger that if america stays on beyond may the first then violence will escalate even further the taliban will see it as a breach of the doha agreement and resort to attacking international forces and perhaps these terrible large-scale suicide bombings in the cities i i hope not i hope not i hope not to not be uh calling upon the taliban our brothers our countrymen not to do that that that the damage would only be to afghanistan and afghans and i would say the same to the afghan government many people often draw comparisons between the soviet withdrawal and the possible u.s withdrawal now of course that one was followed by awful violence do you see that comparison do you fear that history repeating itself well if if things are not taken care of if intentions are not good of course that will happen but we as afghan muslim must not allow that and we also hope that our neighbors and big powers should not do that because the consequences of that will not only be for us but it will reach them as well your overall tone seems relatively optimistic or guarded optimism yes is that fair to say but when i speak to so many other people here they seem much more pessimistic but well i'm optimistic i've always been optimistic i wouldn't give up being optimistic what what what else do we have you

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