Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked the United Nations to assist in peace negotiations with the Taliban, which so far have not borne results.
Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Karzai said peace and reconciliation talks are open to the Taliban and “other armed opposition groups who wish to return to dignified, peaceful and independent lives in their own homeland.”
“To help facilitate the peace process, I ask of the United Nations Security Council to extend its full support to our efforts,” Karzai said. “In particular, I urge the 1988 Taliban’s Sanctions Committee to take more active measures towards delisting of Taliban leaders as a step to facilitate direct negotiations.
“In pursuing the path of peace and an end to conflict, we remain hopeful for the critical role that our neighbor, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, has to play. Over the recent years, we have engaged our brothers in Pakistan in a close dialogue in support of the Afghan peace process. It is a dialogue that, we believe, is critical for Pakistan’s own security, and the security of the wider region and beyond.”
Karzai also condemned depictions of the Prophet Mohammad that have been deemed offensive by Muslims.
“As we speak today, the world is shaken by the depravity of the fanatics who have committed acts of insult against the faith of over 1.5 billion Muslims,” he said. “We strongly condemn these offensive acts, whether it is the production of a film or the publication of cartoons, or indeed any other acts of insult and provocation. Such acts can never be justified as freedom of speech or expression. Equally, they cannot give reason for the genuine protests to be used to incite violence with terrible losses of innocent lives.”
Read President Karzai’s entire remarks below.