Hamid Karzai asks Pakistan to restore NATO supplies with added taxes


Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged Pakistan to reopen NATO supply routes and collect increased levy instead, as it would benefit both Pakistan and Afghanistan. He was talking to senior journalists at a breakfast gathering on Friday. In response to a question on peace talks between the United States and Taliban and his government’s role, the Afghan president said he knew of the US-Taliban contacts, and would decide the venue for holding direct talks with the militants. Karzai said the Taliban could open an office in Qatar, but Kabul would hold talks with them in Turkey or Saudi Arabia. To another question on increased Indian influence in Afghanistan, Karzai said Pakistan should not be worried, as it was already negotiating trade agreements with India.
Karzai admitted that the Indian army was training the Afghan troops, but added that his country would have no objection if Pakistan Army trains the Afghan soldiers. He said his government was considering the option, but “trust deficit between the two countries is a hurdle”. The Afghan leader said that Pakistan should play a key role in talks with the Taliban and sought Pakistani assistance for negotiations. He emphasised that the United States could not talk with the insurgents on behalf of Afghanistan.