KABUL, Afghanistan — This week, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai strongly rejected any notion of engaging in peace talks with the Taliban if the United States is involved, while at the same time strongly suggesting he’s very much looking forward to receiving many more cash payments from the United States.
“Unless the peace process is ‘Afghanised,’ the High Peace Council is not attending the Taliban Qatar talks,” read a statement from Karzai’s office. “Further, as I have tried to explain repeatedly, in the corner of my office I keep my giant cash beanbag chair — that is, a beanbag chair full of money instead of the more commonplace beads. It is with much sadness that I say, this beanbag chair is getting very, very unfirm [sic]. How can I be expected to sit on a chair that is so unfirm [sic]?”
As revealed in late April by The New York Times, the CIA gave Karzai millions of dollars in cash over the course of a decade. The money arrived every month inside backpacks, suitcases and even plastic bags.
“So unfirm,” said Karzai.
On the day before Karzai’s rejection, the U.S. had agreed to meet with the Taliban in Qatar, where the group has established an office. Speaking with a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem explained that, “one of the main objectives of opening this office is to meet Afghans. All Afghans can consult us in that office.”
Continued Naeem, “Also, that 14-year-old girl we tried to kill by shooting her in the head, Malala Yousufzai. All Afghans and Malala Yousufzai are welcome to come consult us.”