4 Oct 2011

Kabul to focus on Pakistan in quest for peace

10:17 am on 4 October 2011

President Hamid Karzai says Afghanistan will no longer engage directly with the Taliban in an attempt seek peace.

The announcement was made in a short speech on television on Monday.

The BBC reports a loya jirga (assembly) is to be convened following the killing of peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani on 20 September.

Mr Rabbani was killed by a suicide bomber claiming to be a peace envoy from the insurgents.

Mr Karzai said Kabul would now focus on dialogue with Pakistan.

He described Afghanistan and Pakistan as "inseparable brothers" but added:

''Despite all destructions, calamities and problems, faced by both our country and Pakistan, a double-standard game and (the use of) terrorism as a tool continued.

"The Pakistan Islamic government has not co-operated with us to ensure peace and security in Afghanistan, which is disappointing for us."

He said peace was "the sacred hope" of the Afghan people but "it should be defined whom should we make peace with".

"In reality we are confronted with governments not the forces which are dependent on them. Therefore we should talk to the main side, which has got the authority."