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Chief of Staff Afghan National Army says in an interview with British Broadcasting Corporation that war with Taliban could be over in weeks if Pakistan decides to take action

London, July 03, 2013 (PPI-OT): General Sher Mohammad Karimi, Chief of Staff of the Afghan National Army, has told BBC HARDtalk that the Taliban have been ‘unleashed to Afghanistan’. In the interview with Sarah Montague conducted for HARDtalk and Radio 4’s Today programme, Gen. Karimi added that the war with the Taliban could be over in weeks if Pakistan decided to take action. Talking in Kabul, he also raised issue with US drone attacks on the Afghan –Pakistan border, claiming Pakistan had given lists of targets.

Please credit HARDtalk/Today should you use any of the following quotes and respect the embargo.

The full interview will be broadcast on Wednesday July 3rd on BBC World News at 0330, 0830, 1430 and 2030 GMT. The interview was recorded in Kabul on Saturday July 29th 2013.

On the Taliban in Afghanistan
SM: I wonder who you think is the enemy. When you think about the Taliban, do you also think that it is about Pakistan?

SMK: You see, (…) I say I’m trying my best to have good relations with Pakistan, I have been part of the tripartite for many years, but the question is whatever policy they have? Of course to me it is clear what their policies are. They don’t honestly trust what I am talking to them. They still think I may be a threat to them. I’m not, I’m not a threat to anybody, I’m not threat to Pakistan, I’m not threat to Iran or anybody else.

SM: Are they a threat to you?

SMK:Presently yes. You see it, physically. Madrasas have been closed and all the Taliban have been unleashed to Afghanistan.

SM: is this a deliberate policy on the part of Pakistan?

SMK: Well if it is not deliberate then why they are doing it? Is there a question of being deliberate or not deliberate? If someone is doing something wrong against you, still you think it is a mistake?

On Pakistan and The Taliban
SM: OK but if you think about the best help that could be given to you. Would your fight with the Taliban effectively be over if Pakistan decided to make it so?

SMK: Yes, it will be done in weeks. You see right now if Pakistan and US…if Pakistan sincerely tries to help the peace talks and peace negotiations because the Taliban are under their control. The leadership is in Pakistan. If they put pressure on the leadership or convince the leadership what to be done, that can help a lot. The role of Pakistan we cannot deny, nobody can deny that. The role of Pakistan is very important. Pakistan has influence in the affairs of Afghanistan since 1978. And from 78 to this date they are involved in the political life of Afghanistan directly or indirectly.

SM: So your talks should be with Pakistan?

SMK: Yes I have tried…every tripartite meeting has been on cooperation along the border against the common enemy…The enemy or the terrorists that are hurting me and also today they are suffering through their own creation. Now Pakistan is suffering internally from terrorists as much as I do. We can both do together to fight this menace provided that there are all sincere in what they’re doing.

On Pakistan permission for US drone attacks
SM: …and there is pressure on the USA to stop drone attacks into Pakistan and of course strikes elsewhere? Would you like them to stop?

SMK: You see, the Pakistani has to be asked…US has not started drone attacks on their own. I mean no country will ever attack another country without some relations, some…

SM: You mean Pakistan is saying…whatever they’re saying in public or privately, they’re giving it their nod?

SMK: Of course they’ve given permission to the US to help the targets of their choice in the area of the border area…

SM: Pakistan is choosing the targets?

SMK: They have given the lists already. The people have been killed, why don’t they kill…why don’t they hit Haqqani? The drones are used against those Taliban who are Pakistani Taliban. The drones are never used against Haqqanior Afghan Taliban. That’s why that’s one of the issues when I’m saying that the peace to Afghanistan can come if us and Pakistan both will desire to have peace. Peace is in the hands of the US and Pakistan. And Afghanistan…

For more information, contact:
Helen Deller
Senior Publicist
BBC Global News Ltd
Brock House, 19 Langham Street, London, W1A 1AA
Twitter: @helsdell
BBC Global News Limited operates BBC World News and bbc.com/news
Mob: +44(0)7809 597710

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