Karzai: US might sabotage regional peace talks with "unsuitable" Taliban drone strikes
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has criticised the US for its "unsuitable" timing of the drone strike that killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, stressing that it might put a strain on the regional peace talks. (AFP/File)
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Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has slammed the US for its "unsuitable" timing of killing Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud and expressed hope it will not sabotage regional peace efforts.
Speaking to a visiting US Congress delegation, Karzai said the drone strike "took place at an unsuitable time but he hoped as a result the peace process is not harmed," his office said in a statement released late Sunday according to Agence France Presse.
The US' killing of Mehsud also angered the Pakistani government -- Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar accusing Washington of "scuttling" peace moves.
Karzai has been making intense efforts to open peace negotiations with Afghanistan's Taliban to end 12 years of brutal war in the country, but the militant Islamists have refused to negotiate with the president's team, labelling him a "puppet of Washington," according to AFP.
Pakistan's government has also been moving toward achieving peace with the Taliban, who are separate but affiliated to the Afghan group.
Karzai, who has recently returned from London after holding talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in London, told the press that previously fraught relations between Kabul and Islamabad had improved.
"The president said the meeting was one of the best with the Pakistani side and said he hoped that the attack the other day on the leader of the Pakistani Taliban was not harming the peace process in Pakistan and Afghanistan," his statement said, according to AFP.
Pakistan was a key backer of the hardline 1996-2001 Taliban regime in Kabul and is believed to shelter some of the movement's top leaders, AFP reported.