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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.