News / Asia

Karzai Reaches Out to Taliban in New Afghan Peace Council

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, speaks during the inaugural session of Afghanistan's new peace council in Kabul, Afghanistan, 7 Oct. 2010
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, speaks during the inaugural session of Afghanistan's new peace council in Kabul, Afghanistan, 7 Oct. 2010

Afghan President Hamid Karzai used the anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan to open the inaugural session of a peace council appointed to help reconcile with the Taliban and other militant groups.

President Karzai offered peace to the Taliban nine years to the day after U.S.-led forces began their effort to topple the group's government in Kabul.

Mr. Karzai opened the 70-member council meeting.

The Afghan leader said he hoped the High Council for Peace will make the desire of peace and stability a reality for the nation. He said Afghanistan's reconstruction and development are linked to peace and stability.

The council includes former Taliban officials as well as past Afghan presidents, civilian and religious leaders.

President Karzai made a special appeal to members of the Taliban in their main language, Pashto.

He called again on opposition forces, the Taliban and any Afghan citizen inside or outside of the country to use the opportunity to forge peace.

The U.S. government has expressed support for Mr. Karzai's long-standing efforts to negotiate peace with the Taliban.

For months, there have been scattered reports that the Karzai administration has been involved in secret talks with the militant group. But the Taliban leadership officially has dismissed the possibility of reconciliation until foreign forces leave the country.

Afghan political analyst Wadir Sapai says he believes that the Taliban will accept a timeline for a coalition withdrawal only if the Afghan government meets its other basic demands, which include government recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political group with sovereignty within its regional strongholds.

Sapai says the Taliban inadvertently finds itself with allies in the current Afghan government, who are echoing its call for changes to the country's constitution.

"Even the opposition of the present government also wants this amendment, which would be a parliamentary regime with a prime minister and limited authorities for the president," he said.

Sapai says that a lack of trust in the Afghan government contributes to the belief that Afghanistan has lost more than it has gained after nine years of war.

"Afghanistan has lost in the security sphere, in the economic sphere, in the political sphere and also in the nation building," he added. "Afghanistan has not gained anything for society, nothing for the peace [and] nothing for the region."

This year has been the deadliest of the war, with more than 560 foreign troops killed. More than 2,000 foreign troops have died since 2001. As coalition and Afghan forces push deeper into Taliban-controlled territory in the south, analysts warn that the number of causalities will increase.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs