Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ruffled Western feathers by referring to his government’s Taliban adversaries as “brothers”.
Farewell to fond thinking:
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his top aides said they are abandoning efforts at peace talks with the Taliban after concluding that the Pakistan-based insurgent leaders aren’t serious about negotiations.
“The peace process which we began is dead,” Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Mr. Karzai’s national security adviser, said in an interview Saturday. “It’s a joke.”
The move comes less than two weeks after a purported Taliban envoy killed Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator, former president Burhanuddin Rabbani, in his Kabul home.
Mr. Karzai and his aides have decided to focus their efforts on putting pressure on Pakistan, which has provided aid and sanctuary to Afghan insurgents who have kept the United States and its allies embroiled in a decade of war.
“I do not have any other answer other than saying that the other side of the talks is Pakistan,” Mr. Karzai said in remarks he made to religious leaders on Friday that were released on Saturday. “This is because we cannot find Mullah Mohammad Omar. Where is he? We cannot find the Taliban council. Where is it?”
In relatively positive news – still open to reversal – a Pakistani judge has ruled, that, no: Bodyguards don’t get to choose which of their charges get to live or die:
A court on Saturday sentenced to death an elite police guard who assassinated a leading secular politician he had been charged with protecting, a killing that sent shockwaves throughout Pakistan and was seen as a clear marker of growing religious intolerance and extremism in the country.
The news made international headlines not just because of the prominence of the politician who was killed, Salman Taseer, but because the killer was celebrated by many in Pakistan, including lawyers who showered him with rose petals and garlands at a court appearance.
Judge Syed Pervez Ali Shah announced the sentence for the guard, Malik Mumtaz Qadri, in an antiterrorism court at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. “Nobody can be given a license to kill on any pretext,” the judge was quoted as saying after the end of the trial.
The judge left the court by the back door.