Karzai calls clerics’ gathering ‘symbolic’

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Former President Hamid Karzai called the gathering of the Islamic clerics held in Kabul “symbolic,” saying that this was more a gathering of the “Taliban movement themselves.”

The former Afghan president made the remarks to Al-Arabiya. “This was more a meeting of a—a gathering of the Taliban themselves, mostly of their own rank and file with some other participants as well,” Karzai said.

Karzai also expressed concerns over the freezing of Afghanistan’s Central Bank assets.

“His (Ghani’s) leaving the country led to the collapse of the state in Afghanistan. The army disappeared, the police disappeared, the institutions collapsed. And this provided also opportunity for other governments and countries to deal with us—the way they want to deal with us,” he said.

The former Afghan president who was in power from 2002 to 2014, said that he would not be willing to lead again.

“I have done my time as the president of the country for 14 years. And as the constitution of Afghanistan instructed, I through an election transferred power to the next president. I will not return to power in any form or in any way,” Karzai told Al Arabiya.

The Islamic Emirate earlier held a gathering of Islamic clerics during which the participants called on the international community to recognize the current Afghan government of the Islamic Emirate.

Some Afghan citizens expressed concerns and said that the gathering did not focus on main issues gripping Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the former president Hamid Karzai expressed hopes that the new government in Pakistan pursue good relations with Afghanistan.

The former Afghan president who was in power from 2001 to 2014, made the remarks in an interview with the BBC’s Yalda Hakim.

“I can tell you that when I was in office the last year of my office, I had excellent relationship with Mia Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, who I found to be very willing to engage very fruitfully with Afghanistan. I hope that Mr. Shahbaz Sharif, the current Prime Minister of Pakistan—his brother—would follow the same path,” he said. “And would find that the Afghan people would respond to them very very positively. We do wish good relationship with Pakistan. Stable relationship, stabilize relationship with Pakistan.”

When asked about the recent airstrikes carried out by the Pakistani forces on Kunar and Khost provinces, Karzai said that such attacks are clear violations of Afghan sovereignty.

“That was a clear violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty– of Afghanistan’s territorial integrity and the killing of Afghan women and children, which again the Afghan people condemned and protest against,” he said.

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