News / Asia

    Kerry, Karzai Discuss Prisoner Transfer, Taliban Talks

    Kerry, Karzai Discuss Prisoner Transfer, Taliban Talks i
    X
    March 26, 2013 12:01 PM
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Afghanistan where he and President Hamid Karzai discussed efforts to bring the Taliban into reconciliation talks. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from Kabul that the previously unannounced visit follows agreement on the U.S. handover of its last Afghan prisoners.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Afghanistan where he and President Hamid Karzai discussed efforts to bring the Taliban into reconciliation talks. The previously unannounced visit follows agreement on the U.S. handover of its last Afghan prisoners.

    Kerry said the transfer of the last Afghan prisoners held by U.S. forces in Afghanistan is an appropriate restatement of Washington's commitment to Afghan sovereignty.

    The long-negotiated handover was delayed by U.S. concerns that Afghan authorities might release some of the more dangerous inmates at the Parwan detention facility, located near the U.S. Bagram military base. The deal was concluded just hours before Kerry's unannounced stop in Kabul, though, an agreement in which he said the United States has great confidence.

    "In this arrangement, the sovereignty of Afghanistan is fully protected, but President Karzai agrees there are certain people there who shouldn't necessarily be out creating problems. And so we're very comfortable," said Kerry.

    Karzai said Afghan authorities will review U.S. intelligence reports on those prisoners thought to be a more permanent threat to Afghan and allied security forces.

    "On good grounds and confirmed information about an individual who is a threat to us, definitely the Afghan laws have a procedure for that and under Afghan laws we will keep such a person in custody."

    Secretary Kerry and President Karzai both endorsed Taliban plans to open an office in Doha as part of the Afghan reconciliation process.

    With international security forces preparing to wind-down operations by December 2014, Kerry said the United States hopes Taliban fighters will cut ties with al-Qaida, give up their weapons, and embrace Afghan constitutional protections for women and minorities.

    But if they do not, he said President Barack Obama has made clear that the United States will not allow America's considerable sacrifices in this long fight to be reversed.

    "The Taliban hopefully will understand that peace and peace talks are the best way to resolve the differences and engage in the political process rather than choose a road of violence," said Kerry.

    Taliban leaders have so far refused to meet with Karzai, calling him an agent of the United States. But he said those talks, informally, already are underway.

    "It's in their interest to renounce violence. It's in their interest to stop killing their fellow citizens," said Karzai. "It's in their interest to stop hurting the security forces of the international community. It's good for them to come back to their own homeland and to raise their families and children and to have a better standard of living. It's good for them."

    This is Kerry's sixth trip to Kabul since 2008, and U.S. officials are counting on his personal history with Karzai to soothe an often-contentious relationship.

    Speaking to reporters at the presidential palace, Karzai said the media misinterpreted comments about U.S. forces and Taliban fighters to make it appear that he was accusing them of colluding to destabilize Afghanistan.

    But he stood behind allegations that U.S. Special Forces in Wardak province backed local militia accused of torturing and killing civilians, a situation resolved by an agreement to withdraw U.S. forces from that part of the province.

    "When I say something publicly to this effect this is not meant to offend our allies but to correct the situation. I'm responsible for the protection of the Afghan people. I'm the president of this country. It's my job," said Karzai.

    Kerry said they discussed those comments and he is comfortable with the president's explanation, saying there is no disagreement about the U.S. role to improve Afghan security and encourage the Taliban to make peace, especially ahead of elections next year.

    "Mr. President, you, I think, stand on the brink of a remarkable legacy for having brought Afghanistan through an amazingly difficult time. There are still difficulties ahead. There are still challenges. But what you have committed to in the context of this election is historic," said Kerry.

    During this visit, Kerry also planned to meet with civil society officials and electoral leaders about preparations for nationwide voting scheduled for April 2014.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora