Taliban serving foreigners, says Karzai

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 10, 2013 14:50 hrs

Kabul, March 10 (IANS) A deadly bombing in the Afghan capital during a visit by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel shows that the Taliban want a "longer presence of foreigners, not their departure from Afghanistan", Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday.

The blast in Kabul Saturday killed at least nine people and wounded 14 others, CNN reported.

The Taliban "are serving the foreigners and are not against the foreigner", Karzai said.

A scheduled news conference between Hagel and Karzai was cancelled, and Pentagon spokesman George Little said the schedule had changed "for a variety of reasons, to include decisions related to security in Kabul that were reached in consultation with our Afghan partners".

In a televised speech, Karzai said there are "ongoing daily talks between Taliban, American and foreigners in Europe and in the Gulf states".

While there have been some reconciliation talks in the past, the US has not said any such talks are currently under way, according to CNN.

On Saturday, a suicide bomber apparently targeted the Afghan ministry of defence, said Charlie Stadtlander, spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

Hagel was not injured, and was in a safe ISAF location, according to the US military.

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