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Afghan Official Warns Taliban Not To Boycott Peace Talks

Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai gestures as he speaks during a press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Kabul on January 12.

An Afghan official has warned the Taliban not to boycott the peace process with Kabul, saying insurgents that choose war will face serious consequences.

The remarks on January 12 by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai came after he returned from a four-country meeting in Islamabad to work on a road map for ending Afghanistan's 14-year war.

Karzai said all participants at the January 11 gathering -- Afghanistan, the United States, Pakistan, and China -- wanted to bring "permanent peace" to his country.

Most Taliban want peace, he told reporters, but he added that "we will use all the means we have against those who do not."

Karzai described the country's conflict as "not a war between Afghans," pointing to the involvement of "foreign elements."

Officials in Kabul have long accused Pakistan of sponsoring the Taliban in cities near the Afghan border, including Quetta and Peshawar. Pakistan has denied the accusations.

The Taliban was not invited to the one-day meeting. The participants agreed to meet again in Kabul on January 18, also without Taliban participation.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters