News / Asia

Kerry Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Mar. 25, 2013.
Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Mar. 25, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Afghanistan for talks with President Hamid Karzai on security cooperation and preparations for next year's elections. The unannounced visit follows agreement on the transfer of the last Afghan prisoners held by U.S. forces.

This is John Kerry's sixth trip to Kabul since President Obama took office, and U.S. officials say they are counting on his personal history with President Karzai to overcome some of the obstacles in this often-contentious relationship.

Paul Westpheling's Q&A with Scott Stearns who is traveling with Sec. Kerry in Afghanistan
Paul Westpheling's Q&A with Scott Stearns, who is traveling with Sec. Kerry in Afghanistani
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Most recently, President Karzai said U.S. forces and Taliban fighters were colluding to destabilize Afghanistan.

Senior State Department officials traveling with Secretary Kerry say he is not here to "lecture or chide"  Karzai and is working instead to "move beyond this incident," in part, by resolving some of the irritants Washington believes contributed to the president's outburst.

There is agreement on a gradual withdrawal of U.S. special forces from Wardak province, something U.S. officials say is a positive sign of how Washington and Kabul are resolving issues in the interest of Afghan sovereignty.

There is also agreement on the transfer of the last prisoners held by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, with U.S. officials saying they believe that "detainees of most concern" will be held securely, humanely, and in accordance with Afghan law.

As a senator, John Kerry was directly involved with Afghanistan's 2009 vote. So as secretary of state he is looking to engage President Karzai in talks on 2014 elections as the international security force here prepares to wind down by December of next year.

On Afghan reconciliation, U.S. officials say they continue to support the Taliban opening an office in Doha, Qatar, and join President Karzai in calling on the Taliban to join the peace process, so long as they break with al-Qaida, lay down their weapons, and embrace Afghan constitutional protections for women and minorities.

Secretary Kerry wanted to go to Pakistan on this trip as well, but decided against it because of the ongoing political transition there.

Instead he met in Jordan late Sunday with Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Kayani on a range of bilateral security issues, including counter terrorism and combating safe havens along the Afghan border.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Haron from: Afghanistan
March 25, 2013 10:28 AM
I wish this trip could take an strong and positive discussion on future of the young boys and gils

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs