News / Asia

    In Afghanistan, Still No End in Sight for Conflict

    A fireman clears blood and debris as NATO soldiers stand at the site of an attack in Helmand province, Afghanistan, August 28, 2013.
    A fireman clears blood and debris as NATO soldiers stand at the site of an attack in Helmand province, Afghanistan, August 28, 2013.
    It is only six months until presidential elections and 14 months until all international combat forces leave Afghanistan, yet a political settlement with the Taliban before then seems increasingly remote.  Analysts, political leaders and negotiators say there is no end in sight to the more than decade long conflict that has killed thousands of soldiers and civilians.
     
    The word on the street is that the Taliban are moving into villages closer to Kabul, but it is hard to verify. Analysts say the militants’ strength is due largely to massive government corruption and divisive ethnic politics.
     
    A lack of political will by all the parties involved to reach a peace deal with the Taliban has also made things difficult, according to analyst Kate Clark.
     
    “You have got the Taliban who will not speak to President Karzai and his government.  President Karzai gets very upset if anyone else tries to make peace with the Taliban you have got a craven Taliban leadership who will not take choices to try and end the war, and you have got international forces who are busy walking away, and you know, everyone would really, really, like to forget about Afghanistan in the West,” said Clark.
     
    The unlikelihood of a political settlement before the April 2014 presidential elections threatens the legitimacy of the vote, says Abdul Hakim Mujahid, a former Taliban official who is now a member of the Afghan High Peace Council.
     
    “In this very confused situation, with the lack of security in this country, if we are going to the general election, that will not be a legitimate general election, that will not elect a legitimate president for the country,” warned Mujahid.
     
    The war has made a select few wealthy, but for most Afghans it has taken a heavy toll.
     
    “Every day we hear about someone being killed, people are fleeing their villages to the cities.  People can not control the Taliban.  Until the government and the Taliban talk, we will never have peace,” said Noor Agha, a resident of Puli Artan, in Kabul.
     
    Afghanistan is a country awash with guns, and former military and intelligence officer Jawed Kohistani notes that there are several armed groups operating in the country.
     
    "You can not please them all.  You can satisfy one group.  What about the others?  The others will continue to fight," pointed out Kohistani.
     
    The greatest worry is about what happens after the elections, and after international forces leave at the end of 2014.  Analysts say the Taliban cannot win, but the Afghan state cannot defeat them; the result is still more war.   
     
    No End in Sight for Afghanistan Conflicti
    X
    September 30, 2013 9:54 AM
    With only six months until presidential elections and 14 months until all international combat forces leave Afghanistan, a political settlement with the Taliban before then seems increasingly remote.


    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    First Human Head Transplant Planned for 2017

    Italian neurosurgeon, assisted by team of 100 medical staff, to perform 36-hour surgery on Russian man with debilitating muscle-wasting disease

    Biden Urges Global Focus on Cancer as a 'Constant Emergency'

    At Vatican conference on regenerative medicine, Vice president notes that cancer kills more than 3,000 people each day in US alone

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora