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

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid