In ‘Wide Angle’ this week, Maya Mirchandani speaks to former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai about US- Afghan relations and Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops.
New Delhi: Days after US President Donald Trump belittled India’s development assistance in Afghanistan, the former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an exclusive interview with Maya Mirchandani for The Wire, “India should forget those comments. It has done tremendously well by the Afghan people, built us a parliament, roads, power transmission lines, educated thousands, and given us over 3 billion dollars in assistance.”
As the United States plans to withdraw nearly half its current military strength in Afghanistan, there are concerns across the region over the the military drawdown’s implications on security. But the absence of the US military, which he welcomes, is not the same as the end of the US presence in his country, said Karzai.
He also welcomed the efforts by Zalmay Khalilzad, America’s special envoy on Afghanistan, to bring Afghanistan and regional stakeholders into negotiations with the Taliban, in spite of India’s hesitation to engage in any dialogue with the group. India has maintained that the path for peace in Afghanistan must be “Afghan led and Afghan owned.” Mr Karzai said he saw no contradiction between the two. There can be no lasting peace in Afghanistan without talking to the Taliban, as the radical group are an element of the Afghan population who cannot be ignored, he said.
Watch the full interview below