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Afghanistan - France

French Interior Minister in Kabul ahead of Karzai-Obama meet


France’s Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux was in Afghanistan for a one-day visit on Thursday, as President Hamid Karzai prepares for a trip to Washington. His government is to offer an exile-for-peace deal to Taliban leaders, according to a British newspaper


Hortefeux is to meet Karzai and Interior Minister Hanis Atmar and US General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the Nato force in the country.

 He will also meet some of the 150 French police officers serving in Afghanistan, supervising and training Afghan police in Kapissa/Surobi province and Mazar-i-Sharif city, as well as working at the VIP protection unit and the Afghan drug control academy.

Karzai is due to meet President Barack Obama in Washington in four days’ time in a meeting which is seen as an attempt to repair tense relations between the two leaders. It is their first meeting since Karzai’s controversial victory in last year’s presidential election.

Obama has ordered thousands more troops to go to Afghanistan in a drive to defeat Taliban and other insurgents.

France 24's Leela Jacinto blogs on Afghanistan and Pakistan

Despite the military surge, two international conferences have backed Karzai’s bid for peace talks with the rebels.

According to Britain’s Guardian newspaper the Peace and Reintegration Programme, which is to be presented to tribal and political leaders at a jirga later this month, will offer Taliban leaders the chance of “potential exile in a third country” if they agree to stop fighting the Karzai government.

The plan is expected to top the agenda at the Obama-Karzai meeting on 12 May.


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