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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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 Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid