News / Asia

    Karzai: Peace Talks With Taliban Must be Through Government

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai gestures, as he speaks during a conference about water management in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.Afghan President Hamid Karzai gestures, as he speaks during a conference about water management in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.
    x
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai gestures, as he speaks during a conference about water management in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai gestures, as he speaks during a conference about water management in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai says that any talks with the Taliban have to be held with the Afghan government. But  the Taliban does not consider Karzai's government legitimate, complicating the prospects for peace even as international forces begin their drawdown. 
     
    President Hamid Karzai told the country's civil and political leaders Tuesday that any attempts to circumvent the government in talks with the Taliban would only lead to continued bloodshed.
     
    His comments came amid worries that some of the country's powerful and ethnically divided warlords may be trying to cut private deals with the Taliban militants. 
     
    He says peace talks should only go through the High Peace Council, a group that includes representatives of Afghans from all ethnic backgrounds.
     
    Karzai helped set up the council in 2010, as a way of trying to convince the Taliban to lay down their weapons and join the political process.
     
    In December, France hosted members of the Taliban, officials from the High Peace Council and senior leaders of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance for talks about the Afghanistan's future.
     
    But on Tuesday, Karzai warned against any outside country trying to control the peace process. 
     
    Andrew Wilder, director of Afghanistan and Pakistan programs at the United States Institute of Peace, said Karzai was most likely referring to actors within the region and the United States, while trying to reassert control over the peace process. 
     
    That, Wilder says, is an unrealistic goal.
     
    "That's not generally how peace processes work. They are much messier. It's not just one party controlling the whole process, especially when they are a major belligerent in the conflict," he said. 
     
    The Taliban has refused to deal directly with Karzai's government. In a recent statement, it described his leadership as having an "irresponsible political existence" under "American protection."
     
    Kabul-based political analyst Omar Sharifi says the militant group is trying to undermine the legitimacy of Afghanistan's democratic political system.
     
    "In a way we are already seeing it create divisions and cracks within the government - political opposition and all these political circles that are now active in Afghanistan," he said. 
     
    Karzai's comments Tuesday came as Afghanistan's top military brass were meeting in Islamabad with Pakistan's military leadership to discuss mutual defense issues. 
     
    Pakistani President Ali Zadari said Monday his country would continue its cooperation to ensure lasting peace in the region.
     
    In recent months, Islamabad has released a number of top Taliban leaders, a move which Wilder says aims to ensure that Pakistan's asset - the Taliban - has a seat at Afghanistan's political table. Still, he says it remains to be seen to what extent Pakistan can actually manage the Taliban.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

    You May Like

    US, Allies Discuss Next Steps in Islamic State Fight

    Meeting comes a day after US Navy SEAL was killed while fighting Islamic State forces in northern Iraq

    In China, Traditional Banks Fight Challenge From Internet Firms

    Internet companies lent more than $150 billion to customers in 2015, which is an extremely small amount compared to the much larger lending by commercial banks last year

    Trump Faces Tough Presidential Odds Against Clinton

    According to analysts, early indications are that Republican front-runner faces daunting contest against likely Democratic candidate, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton

    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.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora