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.
    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.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora