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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More