News / Asia

US Scrambles to Salvage Afghan Peace Talks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai  June 18, 2013Afghan President Hamid Karzai June 18, 2013
x
Afghan President Hamid Karzai  June 18, 2013
Afghan President Hamid Karzai June 18, 2013
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Top U.S. diplomats scrambled Wednesday to salvage plans for preliminary peace talks with the Taliban, after Afghan President Hamid Karzai refused to participate in the U.S.-led talks in Qatar.

Mr. Karzai, apparently irked by the opening of a Taliban political office in Doha, Qatar, also canceled negotiations with Washington on a troop pact governing U.S. presence in the country after NATO forces withdraw in 2014.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Secretary of State John Kerry spoke twice with Mr. Karzai on Wednesday, in an effort to ease the Afghan leader's objections to the talks. They had been set to begin Thursday, but now the start date is unclear.

Mr. Karzai's objections appeared to focus on the way the Taliban unveiled the office Tuesday in Doha, with a sign identifying the facility as the "Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan."  Psaki told reporters that Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since intervened and that the sign has been replaced with one identifying the office as the previously agreed upon "Political Office of the Afghan Taliban."

It remained unclear early Thursday what affect the name change will have on the talks, which Mr. Karzai insists must be led by Afghanistan.

Kabul also says the U.S. decision to meet the militants in a formal setting outside of Afghanistan undermines the role of the Afghan government.

President Barack Obama said Wednesday he was not surprised by the Afghan government's reaction to the Qatar developments.

"We had anticipated that at the outset there were going to be some areas of friction, to put it mildly, in getting this thing off the ground," Obama said.

Speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Mr. Obama also said he hoped that despite challenges, the reconciliation process in Afghanistan will proceed.

Plans originally called for senior U.S. State Department and White House officials to meet in Doha with a Taliban delegation, in what authorities described as preliminary talks.

U.S. officials said Tuesday that President Karzai's government was not expected to participate in the initial talks.  To date, the Taliban has refused to talk publicly with the Karzai government.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid