News / Asia

    Progress Reported in Four-way Afghan Peace Talks

    Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, center, speaks during a one-day meeting with Pakistan, U.S. and Chinese delegations in Kabul, Jan. 18, 2016. The talks are aimed at ending the country's 15 years of war with the Taliban.
    Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, center, speaks during a one-day meeting with Pakistan, U.S. and Chinese delegations in Kabul, Jan. 18, 2016. The talks are aimed at ending the country's 15 years of war with the Taliban.
    Ayesha TanzeemAyaz Gul

    Afghanistan on Monday hosted a meeting of delegates from the United States, China and Pakistan on how to initiate direct peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban representatives.  

    A joint statement issued after the meeting in Kabul of the so-called Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) said, “The group discussed and made progress on a roadmap towards initiating peace talks with Taliban groups that reflects the shared commitments of the QCG member countries.”

    The roadmap, it added, aims to set specific measures that are necessary for creating a conducive environment for the commencement of Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace talks to reduce and ultimately end “the senseless violence” and establish lasting peace in Afghanistan.

    The four-nation contact group has agreed to hold its next meeting in Islamabad on February 6.

    Monday’s was the second meeting of the QCG – formed to help bring an end to the war in Afghanistan after Islamabad hosted initial discussions last week.  
    “…the QCG called on all Taliban groups to enter into early talks with the Afghan government to resolve all differences politically in accordance with the will and aspirations of the entire Afghan nation and the desire and support of the QCG member countries for lasting peace in Afghanistan,” according to the joint statement

    The statement went on to assert that participants indicated their commitment to “a robust effort” to eliminate all forms of terrorist groups, regardless of their national origin, operating in their respective territories.

    Member countries agreed that friendly, mutually respectful and cooperative relations among the member states of QCG are necessary to create an enabling environment for the peace process in Afghanistan.

    Earlier in his inaugural remarks to the meeting, Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani emphasized the need for “red lines” for an effective road map to peace in Afghanistan.

    Hinting at the need for reduction in violence in Afghanistan by the Taliban groups, Rabbani reiterated that the Afghan public would not support an “open-ended process without tangible results.”

    'Call for peace'

    Rabbani also called on all Taliban groups to “accept our call for peace through dialogue.” So far none of the Taliban groups has indicated a willingness to engage in the process.

    An earlier round of peace talks with the Taliban in July stalled after indicationst that its leader, Mullah Omar, had died.  Their new leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, faced internal challenges to his authority, leading to an increase in violence in Afghanistan.

    The Afghan government expects Pakistan to use its influence with Taliban groups, whose leaders are reportedly in Pakistan, to bring the level of violence down, and to use force against groups that refuse to come to the table for negotiations.

    Pakistan says its influence with the Taliban is “limited” and the use of force would be counterproductive until all other measures have been exhausted.

    “Threat of the use of military action against irreconcilables [those unwilling to talk] cannot precede the offer of talks to all the groups and their response to such offers,” said Sartaj Aziz, adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister on foreign affairs, in his opening statement to the first QCG meeting.

    Trust deficit

    The presence of the United States and China in the process is supposed to help with the trust deficit between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The Taliban, however, controls more territory today in Afghanistan than it did anytime after it was ousted from power in 2001.

    This makes it more difficult to persuade the Taliban to enter peace negotiations with an Afghan government that seems to be on the defensive.

    Messages left by Taliban leaders on their websites or social media accounts had called last week’s QCG meeting “useless.”

    On the eve of the latest round of discussions, the Taliban accused the U.S. of derailing peace efforts by re-engaging combat troops in Helmand.

    Taliban demands

    The Taliban also insisted that nothing less than the withdrawal of all foreign forces and implementation of Sharia, or Islamic law, will be acceptable to it.

    The Taliban also has recently started calling President Ashraf Ghani’s government a “stooge” of the U.S.

    This is a return to the Taliban's position during the time of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and can be termed a hardening of its stance against the current government.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    January 18, 2016 8:56 AM
    Truth be told... The US and Afghan demands from a position of military weakness that keeps getting weaker as time goes by, for a Taliban ceasefire as preconditions before any peace talks can proceed is beyond ridiculous and doomed to failure? .. The Taliban and the other terrorist groups have become a world power now that the US government fails to identify them as, even though the US and NATO couldn't defeat them in 14 years of trying anywhere in the world, [and now], the US offers peace talks with ridiculous preconditions to the Taliban when the Taliban is winning the Afghan war, and the US, NATO and the Afghans show no signs of ever being able to win the Afghan war?

    PS; The Taliban will only negotiate from a position of power, while the US, NATO and Afghans can only negotiate from a military position of weakness, (and remember), the Taliban aren't the ones asking for peace talks of any kind, are they? .. preconditions? .. crazy isn't it? .. If only, the US and NATO could've defeated just one terrorist group in 15 years of trying?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora