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A new Islamic movement, led by Mullah Mohammad Omar, first appeared in Kandahar in 1994. The Taliban promised the people of Afghanistan order and stability, two things Afghans legend for. As a result, many Afghans joined the Taliban including Hamid Karzai, who wanted to see strength and consistency in his country. In hopes of seeing the Taliban succeed in its promises of order and stability, Karzai gave the Taliban $50000. Karzai met with mullah Omar on several occasions and also gave the Taliban a Huge supply of weapons, which he had acquired over the years and stored away. Karzai would later come to regret this generosity.
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has been promising in secret contacts with the Taliban about peace agreement without the US and Western allies, further corroding already strained relations with the United States. The secret contacts appear to help explain a string of actions by Mr. Karzai that seem intended to antagonize his American backers, Western and Afghan officials said. In recent weeks, Mr. Karzai has continued to refuse to sign a long-term security agreement with Washington that he negotiated, insisted on releasing hardened Taliban militants from prison and distributed distorted evidence of what he called American war crimes.
The clandestine contacts with the Taliban have borne little fruit, according to people who have been told about them. But they have helped undermine the remaining confidence between the United States and Mr. Karzai, making the already messy endgame of the Afghan conflict even more volatile. Support for the war effort in Congress has deteriorated sharply, and American officials say they are uncertain whether they can maintain even minimal security cooperation with Mr. Karzai’s government or its successor after coming elections.
Frustrated by Mr. Karzai’s refusal to sign the security agreement, which would clear the way for American troops to stay on for training and counterterrorism work after the end of the year, President Obama has summoned his top commanders to the White House on Tuesday to consider the future of the American mission in Afghanistan. Western and Afghan officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the peace contacts, said that the outreach was apparently initiated by the Taliban in November, a time of deepening mistrust between Mr. Karzai and his allies. Mr. Karzai seemed to jump at what he believed was a chance to achieve what the Americans were unwilling or unable to do, and reach a deal to end the conflict — a belief that few in his camp shared.
The peace contacts, though, have yielded no tangible agreement, nor even progressed as far as opening negotiations for one. And it is not clear whether the Taliban ever intended to seriously pursue negotiations, or were simply trying to derail the security agreement by distracting Mr. Karzai and leading him on, as many of the officials said they suspected. As recently as October, a long-term agreement between the United States and Afghanistan seemed to be only a few formalities away from completion, after a special visit by Secretary of State John Kerry. The terms were settled, and a loya Jirga, or assembly of prominent Afghans, that the president summoned to ratify the deal gave its approval. The continued presence of American troops after 2014, not to mention billions of dollars in aid, depended on the president’s signature. But Mr. Karzai repeatedly balked, perplexing Americans and many Afghans alike.
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