Now wait a minute: isn’t Karzai a modern moderate Muslim who abhors the Taliban’s extremism and twisting and hijacking of the peaceful religion of Islam?
KABUL (AP) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened over the weekend to quit the political process and join the Taliban if he continued to come under outside pressure to reform, several members of parliament said Monday.
Karzai made the unusual statement at a closed-door meeting Saturday with selected lawmakers–just days after kicking up a diplomatic controversy with remarks alleging foreigners were behind fraud in last year’s disputed elections. […]
“He said that ‘if I come under foreign pressure, I might join the Taliban’,” said Farooq Marenai, who represents the eastern province of Nangarhar.
“He said rebelling would change to resistance,” Marenai said–apparently suggesting that the militant movement would then be redefined as one of resistance against a foreign occupation rather than a rebellion against an elected government. […]
Two other lawmakers said Karzai twice raised the threat to join the insurgency.
The lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of political repercussions, said Karzai also dismissed concerns over possible damage his comments had caused to relations with the United States. He told them he had already explained himself in a telephone conversation Saturday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that came after the White House described his comments last week as troubling.
The lawmakers said they felt Karzai was pandering to hard-line or pro-Taliban members of parliament and had no real intention of joining the insurgency. […]
The Taliban rigidly oppose education for girls and women’s participation in public affairs, citing their narrow interpretation of conservative Islam and tribal traditions. Militants, who are strongest in the south and east, carry out beatings and other punishments for perceived women’s crimes from immodesty to leaving home unaccompanied by a male relative….