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

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    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.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora