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

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.