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

Hostage Crisis Could Divide Japan Over Plans to Boost Military

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government is working closely with the Jordanian government to secure the release of remaining Japanese hostage Kenji Goto More

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Country's youngest ever PM Alexis Tsipras, 40, sworn in Monday and says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts More

Multimedia National Geographic Photo Camps Empower Youth

Annual mentoring program's mission is to give young people a voice to tell their own stories through photography More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid