News / Asia

Afghan President to Visit Washington Amid Efforts to Reconcile with Taliban

Multimedia

Afghan President Hamid Karzai comes to Washington for talks with President Obama next week, amid the Afghan leader's efforts to reconcile with the Taliban.  Some foreign policy analysts in Washington say various differences over the timing and level of the reconciliation still persist.

President Obama's surprise visit to Kabul in March led to some tension with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

It was triggered by Mr. Obama's open criticism of the Afghan leader's efforts to combat corruption.

The tension has somewhat eased now, and Mr. Karzai will be looking for support for his efforts to reconcile with some of the senior Taliban leaders.

But Tony Cordesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies says the Taliban leadership has no reason to talk at this time.

"When it comes to the top of the Taliban, we need to understand, since at least 2004, they have seen constant progress," said Cordesman.  "They have no reason to reconcile or make compromises. You don't do this when you are winning."

Marvin Weinbaum at the Middle East Institute says he doubts Mr. Karzai is serious when he talks about involving top Taliban leaders.

"I think that President Karzai's interest in talking to the Taliban is simply a way of distracting people from the pressure that he gets from the international community," noted Weinbaum.  "He is playing the nationalist card. I don't think that he has a serious concept that he is going to strike a deal with the Taliban."

Analysts also note that the Taliban leadership is not unified. So Cordesman says any reconciliation will not be at the top, but at the level of provinces and districts. But that too, he says, is fraught with serious differences.

"You have U.S. experts, British experts, and ISAF experts who disagree. You have an excellent new head of UNAMA who is looking at this issue and bringing the United Nations into this for the first time," added Cordesman.

But he says during the Obama-Karzai talks, a broad outline of the future strategy should emerge.

"There will be a host of compromises and agreements which won't be announced. And there will be a list of un-reconciled differences," said Cordesman.  "A few may hit the press, but most are not going to be made public."

The Obama administration, so far, has opposed a full reconciliation, saying it is okay to bring in only the low-level foot soldiers, and that too after the latest offensive in Kandahar.

"The operation in Kandahar is not going to be a conventional offensive," said General David Petraeus.  "It is rather a series of precise operations."

The Obama administration hopes the offensive could weaken the Taliban over the next six to 12 months.  But Gilles Dorronsoro of the Carnegie Endowment, who just returned from a trip to Afghanistan, disagrees.

"It is out of question that we can break the Taliban insurgency in Kandahar, the city or the province. It is totally out of question," said Dorronsoro.

Mr. Karzai and many Afghans fear that if Washington waits too long to decide about talking to the Taliban,  Pakistan's army and intelligence service will take control, as they did in the 1990s after the Soviet forces withdrew and Washington abandoned Afghanistan.

Most Afghans oppose any major role for Pakistan in their country, as do most regional powers, such as India, Iran, Russia and the five Central Asian republics.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid