News / Asia

Clinton, Gates Cautious on Afghan-Taliban Peace Contacts

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (both center), at NATO Headquarters in Brussels 14 Oct 2010
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (both center), at NATO Headquarters in Brussels 14 Oct 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that contacts between the Afghan government and the Taliban are just beginning, and it's unclear if they will bear fruit. Clinton and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates discussed the Afghan conflict in closed-door talks in Brussels with NATO colleagues.

The talks here came against a background of reports from Afghanistan that reconciliation contacts are underway between Kabul authorities and Taliban members, and that the insurgents may be ready to negotiate an end to the conflict.

But both Clinton and Secretary Gates expressed caution about the reported process at a NATO press conference. Clinton said the peace contacts are "just beginning" and with many "different strains" which may or may not be legitimate or yield any bona fide reconciliation.

Related video report by Robert Raffaele.


"We support what the Afghans are doing. We obviously have sought and obtained transparency, and we have an understanding of their goals and objectives. And they have a very clear understanding of our redlines. So this will play out over a period of time. And obviously we have for more than year supported this kind of effort. But the timing is everything, and the sincerity of outreach is everything. So we're not yet ready to make judgments about whether any of this will bear fruit," said Clinton.

U.S. officials have long held that, to make peace, Taliban members would have to renounce violence, links to al-Qaida and support the Afghan constitution including its protections for women.

Clinton and Gates made clear they are more optimistic about efforts to lure low-level Taliban fighters off the battlefield with various incentives, the so-called re-integration process. But Gates said reconciliation is none-the-less worth trying.

"Whenever opportunities arise that are worth exploring, I think we ought to take advantage of that. And whether they lead to something concrete in the short-term, or establish a precedent for something that may develop months or a year from now, I think it really doesn't matter.  We need to be open to opportunities that arise," said Gates.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters the best way to expedite both the reconciliation and reintegration process is to keep up the allied military pressure on the Taliban.

"The Taliban is under pressure everywhere in Afghanistan. And I really do believe the stronger the military pressure, the better the chances for the reconciliation process,” said the NATO chief.

The former Danish Prime Minister stressed the NATO ministerial had yielded several new member-country pledges for trainers for Afghan security forces, and that the alliance may be able to announce at its Lisbon summit next month that a transition to Afghan-lead responsibility for security can begin in 2011.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network 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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs