News / Asia

Senior US General Encouraged by News of Taliban Talks

Top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Joseph Dunford, talks to media representatives at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul, June, 18, 2013.
Top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Joseph Dunford, talks to media representatives at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul, June, 18, 2013.
Luis Ramirez
The White House announced Tuesday that U.S. representatives will open direct talks with Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, within the next few days, aimed at finding a political solution to the Afghan war. The announcement is being welcomed by the commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford.

General Dunford said his forces had no role in facilitating the talks. Speaking by telephone from Kabul, he told reporters at the Pentagon it is not clear whether the talks will slow the violence. But he said he sees them as a good sign and hopes the Taliban will renounce violence in the course of the dialogue.

“We all realize that a successful conclusion to the campaign is eventually going to come through a political process and we're certainly watching with interest from over here in Kabul and encouraged that there seems to be some positive movement," said Dunford.

The commander does not hold out hope that the talks will curb violence by the Haqqani network, a Taliban faction, which has carried out a number of large attacks recently, saying it is hard to believe the group is  reconcilable.

Dunford says he is concerned about the high number of casualties among Afghan forces as they take the lead in what is turning out to be an especially bloody fighting season. The Afghans have been losing more than 100 soldiers and police each week recently.

The Taliban, meantime, has been spreading messages that the U.S. is abandoning Afghan government forces.  Dunford countered those messages Tuesday with reassurances that U.S. and coalition troops are still backing up Afghan soldiers and police.

“The nature of our relationship is changing, but the coalition is going to continue to support the Afghans through 2014," he said.

Dunford said the coalition is examining ways to reduce the number of casualties and continuing to assess the number of U.S. troops that would be left behind to train, advise, and assist Afghan forces after most international forces depart at the end of 2014.  A decision on that number is expected later this year.

He said he believes Afghans will be able to take the lead in combat operations against insurgents as well as secure the elections that are scheduled next year.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of 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

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