THE WORLDPOST
06/19/2013 04:40 pm ET

U.S-Taliban Talks: Former U.S. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering Weighs In On HuffPost Live

The United States and the Taliban announced on Tuesday that they would start talks to foster a negotiated peace in war-torn Afghanistan. Representatives of both parties will meet in the capital of Qatar, where the insurgent group recently opened an office. The talks are meant to facilitate negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban militants.

On Wednesday, however, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that he is refusing to negotiate with the insurgents as long as Washington is involved in the talks. In addition, Karzai suspended negotiations on a new U.S.-Afghan security deal.

On HuffPost Live, Thomas R. Pickering, former U.S. ambassador to Israel, Russia, and the UN, cautioned that the Afghans need to be at the forefront of these negotiations. "We cannot settle over the head of other Afghans the Afghan problem," Pickering explained.

Pickering stressed the need for a facilitator, "someone who is not judge and jury all at the same time and could basically contact all sides."

"We're not in that position, and it's a mistake to believe that we are," Pickering clarified.

Pickering also called for the inclusion of Afghanistan's neighbors in the peace process, countries such as Pakistan and India. "Iran certainly needs to be there," he added. "They have common interests with the United States in Afghanistan -- something that doesn't appear too often around the region or internationally."

Watch Ambassador Pickering's comments in the videos above.

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