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

Afghan Government: Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Died in 2013

President Ashraf Ghani's office confirms reclusive Taliban leader died in 2013, but Taliban itself claim Omar is still alive More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists More

Critics: China’s President Using Law to Tighten Grip on Power

President Xi, who has stressed importance of 'rule of law' and law-based governance, has exerted increasingly tighter grip over society since coming to office 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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs