Q: Taliban says they stopped talking to the US in Qatar after shooting incident by US soldier in Kandahar. But it looks like they also stopped major attacks on Afghan soil compared to previous time. There are attacks but the US is pointing fingers at Haqqani not Taliban. Are they willing to talk?
A: We continue to be in direct and indirect contact with some key figures within the Taliban. This clearly indicates their willingness to talk with the Afghan government. As you may know, a senior Taliban figure has recently said in an interview with Japanese Media, that they are willing to talk to the Afghan government. It is a positive development. It is a progressive sign towards a potential peace process.
Afghanistan welcomes and supports talks with all those elements from the armed opposition who are the sons of this soil and who are willing the respect the Afghan constitution and the achievements of the last decade. We want the Taliban to stop killing innocent civilians. They should join the peace process and become a political force in Afghanistan and participate in the Afghan politics through a political process accepted by the people of this great country.
In this regard, as President Karzai has recently said, the United States should do all it can to arrange a dialogue with the Taliban and to support the Afghan peace process that we have begun and do it by all means so this country can have peace. This means that they (U.S.) can continue to work on the Qatar process; this means that they can continue to work on other processes that the Afghan government has especially the one between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
( Q: How strong have Afghan military and police officials become? There was a time when they were criticized by foreign media due to lack of ability for securing their own country. But can we say now that they have become strong enough to counter terrorism even after foreign forces are out?
A: There are some very negative and baseless allegations in western media against the Afghan National Security Forces which we strongly reject. Although there is still a lot to do in regard to the strengthening of our national security forces, our national Army and Police forces are much better skilled than they were a few years ago.
Afghanistan is our country and our security forces have to protect it. It is our job. Sooner or later, Afghans will have to take all the responsibilities of their homeland themselves. Our forces are good enough to provide security to our people but when it comes to counter terrorism, it requires joint efforts from the international community because it is also the responsibility of our neighbors, countries of this region and our allies in the west to fight terrorism jointly and sincerely with us.
The last ten years show that we have not been successful in fighting terrorism and it is mainly because of the lack of cooperation in the region and the heavy-handed approach by the international forces. So as the president has said, after the withdrawal of the international forces from Afghanistan, Afghans will be more effectively defending their country & campaigning for their own security. We are very confident in this regard. We are very proud of the sacrifices of our security forces.
Q: What kind of education is Afghan government doing for strengthening security forces? Is there any type of education which was introduced recently?
A: The Afghan government is doing all that it can to strengthen our security institutions. Our security forces need equipment and more training. Our national army is more a ground force without the tools of a modern military. We must have security forces which are properly equipped and our allies should help us in equipping them.( (
Q: In the next conference on Afghanistan which will be held in Tokyo on July 8th, it is expected major donor countries will pay billions of dollars in civilian assistance for Afghan government. But unfortunately donor countries are saying that there are huge corruption cases in Afghan government so they can't pay without certification that the government will do utmost to prevent corruption, but what kind of prevention activities is the government doing?
A: As the President has always said, corruption in Afghanistan has two sides to it: corruption which is within the Afghan system, within the Afghan State structure and then there is also corruption in the delivery of assistance to Afghanistan from outside, the contracting mechanisms, the awarding of contracts to politically influential figures in Afghanistan and etc.
It is a very serious social and political problem. So tackling corruption completely will be impossible and reducing it needs joint efforts by Afghanistan and the international community. The Afghan government is strongly committed to fighting corruption in all its forms. During the next two years, the government will focus more and more on internal issues with a special plan to strengthen our national institutions and fight corruption.
( Q: Do you believe that Afghan government and foreign forces should keep its withdrawal policy in which the US will end its combat mission by the middle of 2013 and most of the troops will leave by the end of 2014?
A: We want the withdrawal of the international security forces from Afghanistan to be on time because sooner or later, one day Afghans will have to take all the responsibilities of their country on their own. It is our country and we have to be responsible for its security. We believe that the withdrawal of the international forces from Afghanistan will not have an impact on the overall security of Afghanistan. We want the international community to continue its support to our security forces by providing proper training and modern equipment to them.