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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid