Afghanistan's president says all efforts at peace negotiations with the Taliban need to go through the government if the country is to have any hope of emerging from a decade of fighting as a strong and unified nation.

Hamid Karzai appealed to Afghan powerbrokers and prominent figures who he said had been approached by foreign powers to hold talks through side channels.

The president says that participating in such talks without the government would weaken the country and urged all to refuse those offers.

Karzai's remarks Tuesday came at a conference about water management. He spoke first about the need for clean water systems and then broke off to address what he described as a "very important issue" — the varied attempts at peace talks with the Taliban.