News / Asia

Kerry Arrives in Afghanistan Amid Political Deadlock

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) talks with Afghanistan's presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, during a meeting at U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) talks with Afghanistan's presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, during a meeting at U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2014.
VOA News

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Afghanistan on an unannounced visit late Thursday to meet with rival presidential candidates locked in a hard-fought dispute over election results.

Kerry met with both candidates late Thursday. He is expected to press for a resolution between former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani and challenger Abdullah Abdullah, who disagree about the results of a run-off vote that placed Ghani as the frontrunner.

He will also hold talks with Jan Kubis, the U.N. Special Representative for Afghanistan and will meet on Friday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to hammer out a schedule for the election winner to be finally declared before heading to Myanmar for an Asian security conference.

This is the secretary's second trip to the country in a month. In July, he negotiated a deal in which Ghani and Abdullah agreed to an audit of all 8 million votes from the June 14 run-off election.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul says 18 percent of the nearly 23,000 ballot boxes have been reviewed by an international team overseeing the audit.

A State Department official traveling with Kerry told reporters Thursday the United States wants a new Afghan president to be in office before the end of this month, before the September 4 NATO summit in Wales where the international community's role in Afghanistan will be a focus.

The U.S. official said, "we are hopeful the secretary can obtain a commitment by both candidates to a timeline for completing the audit and agreeing on the details of a national unity government."

Afghan election workers count ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 6, 2014.Afghan election workers count ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 6, 2014.
x
Afghan election workers count ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 6, 2014.
Afghan election workers count ballot papers for an audit of the presidential run-off in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 6, 2014.

Preliminary results of the eight million votes showed former World Bank economist Ghani ahead of Abdullah, a former anti-Taliban resistance fighter. But Abdullah has accused Ghani and Afghan election officials of massive ballot-box stuffing and refused to accept the result. His supporters are urging him to set up a "parallel government."

Kerry's visit to Afghanistan comes as the body of U.S. Major General Harold Greene arrived at the Dover Air Force Base in the U.S. state of Delaware. Greene is the highest-ranking U.S. serviceman killed in action since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001.  He was shot in an "insider attack" Tuesday in Kabul.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington that in light of the attack, the president's commitment to strategy in Afghanistan is unchanged as U.S. troops continue their withdrawal from the country.

Unity government

Under the deal, agreed upon verbally, the winning candidate will take the role of president and form a government of national unity, while the loser will assume the position of chief executive.

The structure of that government, however, still needs to be hammered out and the two candidates have widely divergent views on how it should function.

Kerry's visit was "to encourage both candidates to accelerate the audit process. We really want to see it moving faster," a U.S. official said.

Although a painstaking audit of all 8 million ballots cast in the second round of voting is under way, neither candidate has openly endorsed the process and the deadlock has raised the specter of violent conflict along ethnic lines.

NATO meeting

The clock is now ticking for a new president to be in office before the end of this month ahead of a NATO summit on September 4-5. NATO desperately wants Afghanistan to have a leader at the summit that was to be a crowning moment of its mission of more than a decade, and before Western combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014.

While Karzai has said the next president will be inaugurated on August 25, most officials involved in the process say the deadline is optimistic and it could take until the end of the month for a winner to emerge at the earliest.

At a meeting Thursday with U.N. special representative for Afghanistan Ján Kubiš, Karzai said the feud over results has "negatively affected the country’s security, stability and economy."

He also called for the candidates and auditors to meet the planned August deadline to declare a winner in the race.

Ayaz Gul contributed to this report from Islamabad. Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
August 07, 2014 10:19 AM
Kerry tells the Afghans, the US desperately needs that "Security Agreement" or that "Unequal Treaty" to leave 8,000 to 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan, (because the US needs immunity from prosecution) for killing the Afghan civilians in Afghan courts, (because the US uses assassins and US killer drone rockets and bombs), to indiscriminately bomb and kill suspected enemies of America, that end up being mostly innocent Afghan civilians getting killed indiscriminately....... Yea, the US troops desperately "need" immunity from prosecution, for killing innocent Afghans, don't they?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs