News / Asia

    Karzai Outlines Conditions for US Troops Remaining in Afghanistan

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks as he inaugurates Loya Jirga, grand assembly in Kabul,  November 16, 2011.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks as he inaugurates Loya Jirga, grand assembly in Kabul, November 16, 2011.

    A traditional gathering of about 2,000 Afghans, called a loya jirga, has convened in the Afghan capital to discuss the agreement which will govern U.S. involvement in Afghanistan after the deadline for the exit of foreign combat troops, at the end of 2014.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai opened the four-day meeting with a speech saying that an agreement with the United States is in Afghanistan’s best interests and that a deal must respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty.

    Karzai says Afghanistan is ready to have a strategic partnership with America.  He says he will give the United States the military bases, but the United States should not interfere in Afghanistan’s internal matters.

    ASEAN FACTBOX


    • ATTENDEES:
    • Members: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
      Invited countries -- the United States, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia and South Korea.

    • HOT TOPICS:
    • South China Sea Dispute: Claimed in its entirety by China and in part by several ASEAN members. ASEAN members have accused China of intimidating their vessels in the sea. China has agreed to help draft a code of conduct.
    • ASEAN Community:
      Member countries pushing for an EU-style community by 2015.  Have not agreed on the pace for creating a common market or currency.

    He also called for an end to night raids and for all U.S.-run prisons in the country to be put under control of the justice and interior ministries.

    Gran Hewad, a researcher with the Afghan Analysts group here in Kabul, says there are no clear expectations for the four-day meeting.

    “The agenda is not clear yet, what the government is saying generally that they will discuss the partnership with the United States and the peace process with Pakistan,” he said.

    The meeting is being held amid tight security.  Delegates are intended to represent all facets of Afghan life and include tribal elders, and members of civil society.  But some government opponents are boycotting the jirga.  They say it is illegal and unconstitutional.

    "The leader of the opposition party, Dr. Abdullah, Abdullah announced and asked his followers to don’t contribute, to don’t participate in the jirga," Hewad stated. "Even in the parliament, a couple of parliamentary groups and coalitions have rejected to attend the jirga."

    The Taliban has threatened to attack the jirga and released what it said were the security arrangements for the meeting on its website. The government dismissed them as false.  On Monday a would-be suicide bomber was killed near the venue and two accomplices captured.  There are increased checkpoints here in Kabul and many roads near the meeting venue are closed.

    The government has said anything agreed at the jirga must be approved by parliament before it becomes policy.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    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