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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid