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Karzai Weeps On TV

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday broke down in tears as he called on his countrymen to “ come to their senses” or risk seeing the next generation flee the country.Speaking on national television, he
PTI September 29, 2010 16:54 IST
PTI
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday broke down in tears as he called on his countrymen to “ come to their senses” or risk seeing the next generation flee the country.

Speaking on national television, he identified members of a peace council that will attempt to seek a political rather than a military solution to the Taliban insurgency. And he spoke of his fears that the problems in the country could drive his son Mirwais away from his homeland.

He said: “ I do not want Mirwais, my son, to be a foreigner, I do not want this.” “ I want Mirwais to be Afghan. Therefore, come to your senses... you are witnessing what is happening on our soil and only through our efforts can our homeland be ours.” Karzai spent many years in exile in Pakistan while fighting against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and later during Taliban rule.

He was speaking in front of an audience at an international literacy day in a Kabul school.

This year has been the bloodiest since the conflict began in 2001 when US forces overthrew the Taliban weeks after the September 11 attacks.

But with the insurgency gaining strength despite the presence of nearly 150,000 foreign troops, there is a growing sense that talks may be the only route to peace.

In June, Karzai summoned a peace jirga , or traditional gathering, of tribal and community leaders.

But the Taliban have rejected the idea of talks, saying all foreign forces must leave Afghanistan.

The new council will have more than 68 members, including two former presidents, at least two former Taliban officials, as well as clerics and women. It will try to help mediate peace talks with Taliban- led insurgents.

Its members were agreed after deliberations with tribal chiefs and power brokers, some of whom sided with the US in toppling the Taliban in 2001.

He said: “ The government of Afghanistan with further seriousness... should take vigorous steps for bringing peace to this soil as soon as possible.”