News / Asia

    Karzai Heads to Pakistan for Talks on Afghan Peace Process

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks at a press conference during a ceremony at a military academy on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 18, 2013.Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks at a press conference during a ceremony at a military academy on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 18, 2013.
    x
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks at a press conference during a ceremony at a military academy on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 18, 2013.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks at a press conference during a ceremony at a military academy on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, June 18, 2013.
    Ayaz Gul
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai is set to pay an official visit to neighboring Pakistan next week, perhaps as early as Monday, where he will seek help of the newly-elected leadership to arrange talks between his peace negotiators and Taliban representatives. Kabul’s top diplomat in Islamabad says he expects the upcoming talks between the two countries will yield “positive results.”

    Afghan leaders have long alleged that neighboring Pakistan is sheltering top Taliban commanders and the country’s spy agency, the ISI, has been helping them plan cross-border attacks on local and U.S.-led coalition forces.

    President Karzai wants Pakistani authorities to eliminate the militant sanctuaries in their country to prevent attacks in Afghanistan. He also has been demanding Islamabad use its influence with the Taliban and bring them to the table for talks with members of an Afghan High Peace Council, to try to promote political reconciliation.  

    Improving cooperation

    While bilateral economic, trade, education, cultural and sports relations have strengthened in recent years, Afghan officials insist that without improving cooperation on issues related to peace and security, progress in other areas will remain fragile.                             

    “There is one particular area where we are yet to make progress. That is in the security area. In the whole security department we still have problems," said Mohammad Umer Daudzai, Kabul’s ambassador in Islamabad. "There are allegations from Afghanistan or rather complaints from Afghanistan and Afghanistan obviously has proofs to put those allegations forward that the Taliban and the extremists responsible for criminal actions against the people of Afghanistan have their sanctuaries in Pakistan have their leaderships sheltered in Pakistan.”

    Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry says that President Karzai’s visit is a symbol of how the leadership of both countries want to further improve relations.

    “The emphasis will be on [Afghan] peace and reconciliation process in which Pakistan has already offered that we would like to extend all possible support and assistance in advancing that peace process,” he said.

    Ambassador Daudzai, however, said they have been hearing similar positive Pakistani statements for more than a year but that has not led to actual cooperation on the peace initiative.

    Hope for change

    The Afghan ambassador said he hopes to see a change in that policy under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government and his country is expecting President Karzai talks with Pakistani interlocutors to “yield good results.” 

    “Yes, we do hope because there is a new government in Pakistan, it is a government that has a stronger mandate and it is a government that even before coming to power they were preaching that they will do something about peace and stability in Afghanistan. And now that government is in place and they still talk of the same issues in the same manner. It is a test when the President comes and meets his counterpart to see if that gap between statements and action could be closed,” he said.

    Afghan Taliban detainees

    Officials in Kabul say that in his talks with Pakistani leaders, President Karzai will also repeat his demand that Islamabad release all Afghan prisoners from its jails, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a former deputy commander of the Taliban.

    The insurgent leader was believed to be independently attempting to engage in peace talks with Afghan authorities, but his actions apparently upset Pakistani officials and he was detained while traveling through Pakistan in 2010.

    Ambassador Daudzai also insists that it is unclear whether the release of 26 Afghan Taliban detainees from Pakistani jails late last year has really benefited the peace efforts. He said Pakistani officials did not share enough information with Afghan authorities before and after releasing these men, and their whereabouts remain unknown.

    The Afghan diplomat said Pakistan has now assured his country it will share information when remaining prisoners are released. 

    Pakistan said it helped more than two dozen Taliban representatives travel to Qatar to open a political office in June as part of a U.S. peace plan to give the insurgency an address where they can engaged in talks.

    But the fanfare surrounding the opening ceremony and a proposed direct meeting between the Taliban and American officials both upset President Karzai and provoked him to boycott the peace process.

    Afghan authorities are now demanding Pakistan use the same influence to facilitate a direct meeting between Taliban representatives and members of the Afghan Peace Council, saying the venue of the talks is immaterial for them.

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, here's what the history of take-out food tells us about changes in American society

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora