News / Asia

Istanbul Meeting on Afghanistan Stresses Cooperation

From left: Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Gul and Asif Ali Zardari in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 1, 2011.
From left: Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Gul and Asif Ali Zardari in Istanbul, Turkey, Nov. 1, 2011.
Dorian Jones

In the second and final day of meetings on Afghanistan in Istanbul, Turkey, participants of the international conference focused on Afghan security and economic development as foreign troops prepare to leave the country by the end of 2014.

Addressing the conference, Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned there would be no hope of peace in his war-torn country without help from regional neighbors. Officials from some 20 countries and aid agencies who attended the conference stressed the need for cooperation, particularly on the question of security.

At a press conference with Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul said an important step had been taken for the region.

Dubbed the "Istanbul process," the agreement, as Rassoul describes it, commits countries in the region to resist becoming safe havens for terrorists.

"[The] process will allow countries in the heart of Asia to implement important confidence building measures, toward a more effective, broader and deeper regional cooperation that promotes security, stability and economic development in our region," said Rassoul.

Pakistan has repeatedly been accused by both Washington and Kabul of providing tacit if not direct support to the Taliban insurgency, a charge Islamabad denies.

But Islamabad is seen as playing an important role in bringing the Taliban to the peace table, and Karzai called on Pakistan to bring Taliban leaders into negotiations.  

Although Karzai on Tuesday ruled out direct talks with the Taliban, Rassoul left the door open to future talks with the insurgent group.

"We know that there are people among the Taliban and others that are willing to have peace under the conditions that I have proposed to you," he said. "I am confident and optimistic [we can] achieve peace [through this] process."

Improved Afghan-Pakistan relations stressed

Many other commitments were made during Wednesday's conference in Istanbul, not only in the field of security, but also in trade and education. Observers say the two days of meetings will ultimately be judged successful is if there is the start of a thaw in the icy relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Alistair Burt, Britain's Minister for Middle the East and South Asia, also stressed the importance of improved relations between the countries.

"I made it clear this morning [that] the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan has to be very close," said Burt. "They both have a vested issue in dealing with scourge of terrorism, and we believe they both have a vested interest in making sure that those who can abide by the conditions set out by President Karzai for inclusion in the political process should come back into the political process."

September's assassination of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was heading peace efforts with the Taliban, resulted in the near collapse of relations between the countries. Kabul accuses Islamabad of being behind the Taliban suicide bomber who killed Rabbani, a charge Islamabad denies.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and the Afghan president committed to a joint investigation of the assassination on Tuesday, following a trilateral summit with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. Many consider the probe a potentially important step in rebuilding trust between the neighboring South Asian countries.

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg 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.
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