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.
Sharon Behn
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.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More