News / Middle East

Afghanistan's Warring Sides Seek Advantage Prior to Possible Talks

Multimedia

The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan is approaching its 10-year anniversary with no end in sight to the fighting. There are efforts, however, to negotiate a political settlement to the conflict.

Recent calls to end the war in Afghanistan come with complications.

This is the fighting season, the summer months when poppy farmers are not in their fields and mountain paths are clear of snow. And the fighting is particularly intense as the Taliban look to retain control of territory, particularly in the east and south.

Attempting a negotiated settlement


For NATO and U.S. forces that means fresh offensive operations.

For the Taliban -  a series of assassinations and high profile attacks.

Mohammad Stanekzai is the chief executive of the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program. He said talks are already underway, but the Taliban will not be allowed again to control Afghanistan like they did in 2001.

"It is not the return back to the Emirate of the Taliban. It is that we provide the opportunity for Afghans that they can be part of the society, of the political system," said Stanekzai. "But at the same time, we should respect the wishes of all the people. All people of Afghan do not want that rule again. And they understand that, that they cannot rule the country."

Seeking peace

Afghanistan is war weary. The Soviets invaded in 1979. Civil war broke out in 1992. Then nearly 10 years ago, international troops took on the Taliban.

Afghan Parliament Member Fawzai Koofi said she wants her two daughters to grow up in peace. She worries that hard won civil rights, especially for women, could be lost.

"Political rights of individuals will be limited. Our concern is that we will lose all these civil rights," said Koofi. "Either lose them or they will be limited. What are we going to achieve? What are we going to lose? Is it going to guarantee peace in Afghanistan? A peace with justice? A peace with dignity?"

NATO considers women's rights, the Afghan constitution and an end to violence non-negotiable. Koofi said talking with individuals is fine, but she worries about the Taliban as a faction.

"Our concern is not individual re-integration of Taliban. Because, you know, that individual does not contribute to peace or war," she said. "Either they are with Taliban, they cannot increase the war. Or they join the government. Our concern is as a woman, as people who believe in a democratic country, our concern is Talibanization of the process."

Stumbling blocks abound

Further complicating a negotiated peace are regional disputes, tribal alliances and widespread lawlessness.

But in the end, Stanekzai said, Afghans must make peace among themselves.

"One thing should be made clear, nobody will serve the interests of Afghans other than Afghans themselves. And this is one thing: that Afghans should become united in order to save this country," he said. "And definitely we need the support of regional countries and international community. But the definite factor is the Afghan themselves. To put their differences aside. To come together and look to the game. And not to be the victim of the game of others."

For now the talks are behind closed doors and the fighting continues. But with public support in the West waning, and Afghans themselves eager for peace, the push is on to find a way to end a war that has cost so many lives and caused so much damage.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid