Karzai asks US to curb Pak ‘support for extremists’


JAIPUR: Former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai called upon US President Donald Trump to ‘walk the talk’ on curbing Pakistan’s alleged support of extremist forces.

He said that Trump, in a tweet at the beginning of the year, had criticised Pakistan for giving ‘safe haven to terrorists’ we hunt in Afghanistan.

“We do support Trump on his statement about Pakistan. We hope they will walk the talk… We hope we will see action on that front,” he said at the Jaipur Literature Festival during a free-wheeling conversation with author William Dalrymple about his student life in India, his presidential years as well as the charges of corruption against those close to him.

Afghanistan, he said, was far from secure, with extremist forces yet to be defeated, and the Taliban making further inroads. Peace, the former president said, will not come unless Pakistan agrees to the peace, and unless the US and Pakistan work together to secure it.

Criticising the US for promoting the rise of extremism in Afghanistan in its bid to defeat the Soviet Union, Karzai said, “Whether deliberate or a mistake, I hope they will correct it soon.”

He also said the impression that he was anti-America was incorrect, but he was certainly opposed to the fact that the US had been ignoring the sanctuary being given to terrorists outside of Afghanistan. He also hoped that Afghanistan’s strong relationship with India would continue.

On matters of corruption as well as widespread opium production in Afghanistan, Karzai blamed “foreign countries”. Afghanistan is as corrupt as any other country, he said, but the main blame for it must go to the US contractors.

Karzai spoke with affection of his student years in Shimla, and his love for Indian films, songs, writers and poets.