News / USA

Kerry: Taliban's Qatar Office Could be Closed if no 'Move Forward'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Doha, Qatar, June 22, 2013.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Doha, Qatar, June 22, 2013.
x
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Doha, Qatar, June 22, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Doha, Qatar, June 22, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Taliban's newly opened office in Doha may be closed if there is not progress on opening talks with U.S. officials.  

Talks between U.S. and Taliban officials were to have started here in Doha last week. But they were delayed following objections from Afghan President Hamid Karzai about how the Taliban were presenting themselves.

Secretary Kerry is in Doha for a meeting of governments backing Syrian rebels.  He spoke to reporters about the Taliban issue alongside Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani.

"We are waiting to find out whether or not the Taliban will respond in order to be able to follow the sequence which has been painstakingly established," Kerry said.

Kerry says the United States performed its part in good faith. But regrettably, he says, the agreement was not adhered to by the Taliban. They opened their office with a sign identifying the facility as the "Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" and raised an Islamic Emirate flag.

The flag is now lower and the sign has been replaced with one identifying the site as the previously-agreed-upon "Political Office of the Afghan Taliban." Kerry thanked Qatari officials for helping to set things right.

"Now we need to see if we can get back on track," Kerry said. "I don't know whether that's possible or not. If there is not a decision to move forward by the Taliban in short order, then we may have to consider whether or not the office has to be closed."

That is unlikely given the length of negotiations it took to get to this point. But the threat does illustrate how much could go wrong with a process that U.S. officials freely admit may fail entirely.

While focusing on an "Afghan-led" political reconciliation that ultimately includes Taliban meeting directly with members of the Karzai government, U.S. officials say they have their own issues with the Taliban including the release of a captured American serviceman and the need for the group to renounce violence and publicly break with al-Qaida.

Prime Minister Al Thani says Qatar will do its best as a facilitator in these talks, but it depends on those involved to make it work.  

"The office being opened in Qatar is to bring everybody to the table to talk -- the Afghanis, the Americans -- they have to talk because we think the only way to get out of this war in Afghanistan is by talking to each other and to try to find a comprehensive peace and everybody has to live in Afghanistan without eliminating any part of the Afghani people," Al Thani said.

The top U.S. negotiator for these talks is in Doha, and U.S. officials say they could start within days.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

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