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Groups to Obama: Let Karzai Hold Peace Talks
WASHINGTON - May 12 -
PAUL KAWIKA MARTIN
Martin is political director of Peace Action, one of several groups urging President Obama -- who is meeting Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai today in Washington -- to say "yes to President Karzai's request for the U.S. to support peace talks now to end the war."
Naiman is policy director of Just Foreign Policy, another of the groups involved in the effort. He said today: "President Obama should heed the demand of the government and the people of Afghanistan for real peace talks now. Every Western press [polling] report says the overwhelming consensus of public opinion in Afghanistan supports peace talks to end the war. U.S. officials say we have to 'bloody' the Taliban first, but no one has explained how the deal we get after 18 more months of war differs from the deal we get if we talk now."
The groups sent a letter to Obama and took out an ad in Wednesday's Politico, which "uses the 'Sesame Street game' to show how the U.S. is increasingly isolated in its opposition to peace talks now. 'Who's not ready to talk to the Afghan Taliban?' the ad asks. Not President Karzai nor Afghan parliamentarian Shukria Barakzai; not British Foreign Secretary David Miliband nor UN Afghanistan chief Staffan de Mistura. Only President Obama still opposes talks with the Afghan Taliban now." See here for more information.