News / Middle East

US Scrambles to Salvage Afghan Peace Talks

A general view of the Taliban Afghanistan Political Office in Doha, June 18, 2013.
A general view of the Taliban Afghanistan Political Office in Doha, June 18, 2013.
Sharon Behn
The United States is working to defuse the latest dispute with its allies in Afghanistan over contacts with the Taliban office in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The dispute has focused, in part, on the Taliban displaying the flag of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan, a symbol of their rule in Afghanistan.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai twice in 24 hours to try and rescue plans for peace talks with the Taliban and bilateral security talks with Kabul.

Karzai’s government objected to the meetings after the Taliban used their Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan flag at the Doha office - a move that Afghans saw as the militant group attempting to establish itself as a legitimate government.

U.S. talks with the Taliban had been expected to start Thursday in Qatar. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had intervened, and the banner was replaced with one saying, “Political Office of the Afghan Taliban.”

But by Thursday afternoon, the Afghan leadership did not appear to be satisfied.

Presidential Palace spokesman Eimal Faizi said,  "Our position has not changed, neither on sending the Afghan High Peace Council to Qatar for the peace talks, nor on the talks with the United States.”

When the U.S. said Tuesday that talks with the Taliban would go ahead, Mr. Karzai reacted by suspending talks with Washington on bilateral security issues.

Wadir Safi, a professor of political science at Kabul University, says the reconciliation process is not something that will happen overnight. But he predicts the latest dispute will be resolved and the talks will continue. The country has no choice, he says.

“They have to. There is no other way except sit and talk to each other," he said. "The Afghans and the Afghan nation is fed up of wars and all of them they want peace. If  Karzai hesitated, or the Taliban hesitate that, then it will be a bit worse for each one of them who doesn’t want to go to peace talks.”

The United States, which along with the rest of the coalition forces, intends to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of next year, sees talks with the Taliban as the only solution to the conflict.

But so far, the Taliban has refused to speak directly with Mr. Karzai, and the Afghan leader is against Taliban-U.S. negotiations that omit the participation of his government.

Bowe Bergdahl, shown in video while a captive of Taliban in 2010 (file photo)Bowe Bergdahl, shown in video while a captive of Taliban in 2010 (file photo)
x
Bowe Bergdahl, shown in video while a captive of Taliban in 2010 (file photo)
Bowe Bergdahl, shown in video while a captive of Taliban in 2010 (file photo)
The Afghan government also criticized neighboring Pakistan, which had said it would attend the talks in Doha. Pakistan, which is believed to have ties with the Afghan Taliban, is seen as a vital player in the peace process.

In a statement, the Afghan Foreign Ministry accused Pakistan of harboring some militant Taliban leaders while jailing others - a possible reference to those Taliban who had reached out to Karzai’s government. The statement demanded the release of those imprisoned leaders.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Choudhry insisted Islamabad backs the peace process.

Bowe Bergdahl

-U.S. Army sergeant, was ranked private at time of his capture
-Disappeared from army base in Paktika province, Afghanistan in June 2009
-Been seen in several videos released by Taliban to prove he is alive
-Taliban initially demanded $1 million and release of 21 Afghan prisoners for his release
-Born March 28, 1986 in Sun Valley, Idaho
“Pakistan has extended its facilitation in the process of reconciliation in Afghanistan. This is part of our overall objective, of working with all stakeholders to bring peace and security in Afghanistan, and we think that the reconciliation process will be a central element of that effort,” he said.

The Taliban has indicated that part of the talks in Qatar would include the possible release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held by the militant group since 2009, in exchange for the release of five prisoners held by the U.S. at Guantanamo.

You May Like

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JR from: Brazil
June 20, 2013 2:20 PM
What a blind alley US found out when attacked Afeghanistan: mortal, expensive, very complicated and of a very difficult solution. Really a bad business. There they understand life in an opposite manner we westerns do.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs