News / Asia

Analysts Assess US Role in Afghan Peace Talks

Afghan, Pakistani Leaders Call For Talks With TalibanAfghan, Pakistani Leaders Call For Talks With Taliban
x
Afghan, Pakistani Leaders Call For Talks With Taliban
Afghan, Pakistani Leaders Call For Talks With Taliban
Sean Maroney
This week's pledge from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, to start peace talks with the Taliban within the next six months marks the first definitive target in the reconciliation process.  There are questions about what, if any, role the United States will play in the talks.

The Afghan government's pursuit of peace with the Taliban has been a drawn-out affair stretching over the last few years. Various Taliban intermediaries have spoken with Kabul, but so far neither side has publicly given ground on its demands.

One of the Taliban's biggest demands is that all foreign forces leave the country. And after more than a decade of fighting, war-weary NATO countries are more than willing to comply.

According to NATO, the international coalition has already transferred 87 percent of security control to the Afghan forces. But if peace talks with the Taliban do start within the next six months in Qatar, NATO forces - including U.S. troops - will still be fighting in Afghanistan.

Ismail Qasim Yar is the head of international relations for the Afghan High Peace Council, Kabul's representative in the negotiations with the Taliban.  He said the presence of foreign troops should not have a major effect.

He says that at a minimum, the six-month time frame should be enough to start talks, especially considering that Afghanistan's neighbor Pakistan, a country with historic ties to the Taliban, is on board is part of the negotiations.

Earlier this week, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States would continue to defer to Kabul.

"We are committed ourselves to support an Afghan-led process. The goal for everyone should be an inclusive political order in a strong, unified, sovereign Afghanistan," Nuland said.

Ronald Neumann, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, says that this does not mean the United States will play a marginal role in the peace talks. But Washington can only do so much.

"Our purpose, as I understand it, has always been to bring the other parties together.  All of the actual conditions have to be about how the Taliban and Afghan people will live together and whether an agreement is one that can be accepted by all Afghans. Those are things that Afghans have to decide.  Those are not things the U.S. should decide," Neuman said.

Even if the U.S. military support in Afghanistan helps force the Taliban to the table this year, Neumann says the complete NATO pullout scheduled for 2014 really puts the pressure on the Afghans to guide the peace process.

"As U.S. troops go down and mostly leave, the agreement - whatever agreement comes, if an agreement comes - has to be one in which Afghans have confidence that it will be kept," Neuman said.

But this will be difficult, considering the Taliban in Afghanistan is by no means an monolithic entity. The success of any deal will rely on the acquiescence of numerous local warlords and militant commanders with various ties to al-Qaida - everyone who gathered under the umbrella of the Taliban to fight against the Afghan government and NATO forces.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
February 08, 2013 1:42 AM
Given that there are many potential power brokers, they should start by drawing a constitution that all the different principal parties can use as a basis for governing Afghanistan; from that document, they can set agreements as to how they will all participate in a transitional gvmt, followed by general elections. The option of a federative state needs to be addressed, to ensure all of Afghan;s people can have slight different modes of governance. It is really going to be a very tough process, by squirting the final agreement(s), through an acceptable constitution, everyone remains an equal partner.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid