AP Interview: Karzai worries Pakistan talks risks peace pact

AP Interview: Karzai worries Pakistan talks risks peace pact
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai adjusts his hat during an interview with The Associated Press in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. Karzai expressed fears that a previously unscheduled meeting between the Taliban and the United States in Pakistan on Monday risks engulfing Afghanistan into regional rivalries, as its neighbors and powerful Persian Gulf states jockey for influence in a post- U.S. Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has expressed fear that previously unscheduled peace talks between the Taliban and the United States in Pakistan on Monday risk engulfing the country in regional rivalries.

In an interview in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday, Karzai worried the accelerated peace process was being hijacked by regional rivalries even as Afghanistan’s neighbors and powerful Persian Gulf states jockey for influence in a post-U.S. Afghanistan.

Previously scheduled talks are slated for Feb. 25 in Qatar. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are Gulf enemies and the Pakistan meeting will be held as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman wraps up a two-day visit to Islamabad.

“We don’t want the peace process to become hostage to competing powers for influence in Afghanistan or over the process,” said Karzai.