News / Asia

Kerry to Host Afghan, Pakistani Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a meet-and-greet session with European Commission fellows in Brussels, Belgium, April 22, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a meet-and-greet session with European Commission fellows in Brussels, Belgium, April 22, 2013.
Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will host talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and senior Pakistan officials in Brussels on Wednesday, officials said, with the aim of calming tension over border disputes and a flagging peace process.

The meeting is part of a series of on-off discussions between Afghanistan and Pakistan at the behest of the United States, a senior State Department official said on Monday, confirming that Kerry had offered to host the gathering.

Afghanistan has grown increasingly frustrated with Pakistan over efforts to pursue a peace process involving the Taliban, suggesting that Islamabad is intent on keep Afghanistan unstable until after foreign combat forces have left at the end of 2014.

Kerry said the meeting would discuss the handover of security responsibility to Afghan forces this year, a move intended to allow for the end of NATO-led combat operations.

"This is the year of transition. This is the critical year in Afghanistan,'' he told U.S. diplomats in Brussels."We are going to have a trilateral and try to talk about how we can advance this process in the simplest, most cooperative and most cogent way, so that we wind up with both Pakistan's and Afghanistan's interes ts being satisfied, but, most importantly, with a stable and peaceful Afghanistan which is worth the expenditure and the treasure and effort of these last years.''

U.S. officials are hopeful that Kerry, who has a good relationship with Karzai, can bring the parties back to the negotiating table and make constructive progress on an issue that has long-term security implications for Washington.

An Afghan spokesman said earlier that Karzai would travel to Brussels for the talks, which follow weeks of tension with Pakistan over their 2,600 km (1,600 mile) border and stalled peace efforts.

"Our message to Pakistan is enough is enough,'' Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi, said in Kabul. "This time we will tell Pakistan that our people's patience is running out and we can't wait for Pakistan to deliver on Afghan peace promises.''

Troop withdrawal

Last month, Afghanistan's deputy foreign minister called Pakistan "complacent" when it came to the nascent peace efforts and said it was ready to work on reconciliation with Taliban groups without Pakistan's help if necessary.

A public slanging match ensued, with the Pakistani Foreign Ministry accusing Karzai of being an "impediment'' to the peace process.

Although there have been several meetings in Western capitals over the past few months in which representatives of the Taliban have met Afghan peace negotiators, there have been no signs of a breakthrough.

Kabul accuses Pakistan of harboring the Taliban leadership in the city of Quetta and using militants as proxies to counter the influence of India in Afghanistan.

Publicly, the Taliban say they will not engage in peace talks with the Karzai government.

As well as Karzai and Kerry, the meeting will include Afghanistan's defence minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, and Pakistan's foreign secretary, Jalil Jilani, the U.S. official said.

The talks will take place the day after a meeting on Tuesday of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, which Kerry will attend. That meeting will discuss the process of transition and the shift in the role of foreign troops from combat to training, advising and assisting Afghan forces.

NATO ministers agreed in February that they would think in terms of no more than 8,000-12,000 NATO troops remaining in the country after 2014 compared with about 100,000 now. The United States had yet to decide how many troops it will keep in the country and U.S. officials say much will depend on negotiations between the United States and Afghanistan on the legal status of those troops.

Karzai's spokesman said hopes for a breakthrough at Wednesday's talks were slim. "Discussions have been warm and friendly in the past but Pakistan unfortunately did not take any practical steps,'' Faizi said.

Earlier this month there was outrage in Afghanistan over the building of a Pakistani military outpost in a border area of Nangarhar province which the Afghan Defence Ministry says was inside Afghan territory.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid