News / Asia

Afghan Delegation to Meet Taliban Leader in Pakistan

FILE - Police escort a man, identified as the Afghan Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
FILE - Police escort a man, identified as the Afghan Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Ayaz Gul
Senior Afghan peace negotiators are being allowed to soon travel to neighboring Pakistan for a long-demanded meeting with the Taliban insurgency’s former deputy chief. Pakistani officials are promising more access in the future to facilitate the Afghan political reconciliation process.
 
Afghan officials say that Pakistan has agreed to arrange the meeting between members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and the Taliban’s former second-in-command to further peace efforts in the war-torn country. They have not disclosed dates for the proposed contact with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.  
 
Baradar was recently released from a prison in Pakistan but remains in the country. Afghan President Hamid Karzai had been demanding access to him, saying Baradar has enough clout to persuade leaders of the Taliban insurgency to end the 12-year-old conflict.  
 
The decision to allow Afghan negotiators to meet with Baradar was taken in London on Tuesday during talks Mr. Karzai held with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The meeting was hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
 
Speaking to reporters in Islamabad Wednesday, Sharif’s special assistant on foreign affairs, Tariq Fatemi, said that Pakistan has no objection to such a meeting. He added that both countries will benefit ahead of the planned withdrawal of most foreign forces from Afghanistan.
 
“Mullah Baradar was released at the express request of President Karzai when he had visited Islamabad [in August]," he said. "We are committed to promoting the peace process in Afghanistan. This peace process should be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led. We will play a supporting role because we recognize that peace and stability in Afghanistan is essential for peace and stability in Pakistan and we want to live as good neighbors.”
 
Still, Fatemi expressed caution on prospects for the talks.

“I don’t have expectations, but I have hopes,” he said.
 
He said that Baradar has been provided with enhanced security “to ensure his personal safety but he is a free man and can go anywhere he wants to." He added that Pakistan has no intention to extradite the Taliban former deputy chief.
 
Fatemi said that Baradar "will neither be handed over to Afghanistan nor will he be forced to move from one place to another."
 
Under pressure from Afghan and U.S. officials, Pakistan has released more than three dozen Afghan Taliban insurgents since late last year to further the reconciliation process in the neighboring country.

Speaking to reporters in Kabul, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, James Cunningham, urged the Taliban to pursue the peace process instead of violence.

“That is really an Afghan issue. I don’t have an independent view about Mullah Baradar. But the High Peace Council has felt for some time that he could play an important role. So we are certainly supportive of the effort to try,” he said.

Baradar was trying to reach out to the Afghan government with a peace initiative but was detained while traveling through neighboring Pakistan in 2010.
 
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Sharif also formally called on the Taliban to become part of the Afghan reconciliation process, saying it will promote unity in Afghanistan and will lead to regional stability.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid