News / Asia

    Pakistan, Afghanistan Reach Out to Insurgents

    Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) and Chairman of Afghanistan's High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani stand before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 12, 2012.Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) and Chairman of Afghanistan's High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani stand before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 12, 2012.
    x
    Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) and Chairman of Afghanistan's High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani stand before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 12, 2012.
    Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) and Chairman of Afghanistan's High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani stand before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 12, 2012.
    Ayaz Gul
    Pakistan and Afghanistan have jointly appealed to Taliban-led insurgent groups to participate in the Afghan political reconciliation process aimed at ending the war. They are asking the militants to sever links with al-Qaida and other international terror networks.

    A high-level delegation of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, led by its chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, concluded a three-day visit Wednesday in Islamabad, where it held intensive talks with Pakistani political and military leaders.

    The discussions were focused on how to encourage Taliban and other militant groups to stop fighting and join peace negotiations. The talks came as the U.S. and NATO-led international coalition plans to pull most of their troops from Afghanistan by 2014.

    Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have reported significant progress in the talks, including release of several Taliban prisoners by Pakistan. The Kabul government has long demanded the release of these men, hoping their rehabilitation to Afghanistan will encourage other militants to end violence and join the peace process.

    A senior member of the Afghan delegation, Abdul Hameed Mubarez, praised Pakistan’s decision of releasing Taliban prisoners as a major step forward.

    Mubarez said the prisoners are Afghans and his country will gain from their return to Afghanistan, because it also may encourage other militants to join talks and become part of the national political process. He said that if the Taliban wants, it can participate and even field their candidate in the next presidential election set for April 2014.

    The High Peace Council’s chairman Rabbani expressed confidence that by working together, Pakistan and Afghanistan can help achieve stability in his country.  

    “We very much look forward to a very close cooperation between the two countries because peace in Afghanistan is peace in Pakistan, and we are very much confident that we will be able to work cooperatively and closely so that peace and stability comes to Afghanistan,” said Rabbani.

    Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik reaffirmed his country’s support for the Afghan peace efforts.

    “We firmly believe that a safe Afghanistan is [a] safe Pakistan. Pakistan will continue to support any peace process and dialogue,” said Malik.

    In a joint statement issued at the end of the talks, both countries have called for the Taliban and other armed groups to break ties with al-Qaida and other terrorist networks.

    Afghan officials believe that by using its past links with the Taliban and allegations that top leaders of the militant group have taken refuge in Pakistan, the neighboring country can play a key role in bringing insurgents to the negotiating table.

    Islamabad denies the presence of Taliban commanders in Pakistan, and says an early end to the Afghan conflict is likely to strengthen its own efforts against local militancy.

    There are fears among regional countries, including Pakistan, that Afghanistan could descend into further chaos if foreign forces leave without a political peace process in place well before the 2014 deadline.

    Afghanistan’s High Peace Council has failed to establish direct talks between the government of President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban because of the prevailing mistrust on both sides. But observers believe by securing the release of Taliban prisoners during its talks in Islamabad, the Council can hope to win some support among insurgent groups in Afghanistan.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    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.
    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.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora