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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid