News / Asia

Taliban Opens Office for Talks with US, Afghan Government

Muhammad Naeem (L), a spokesman for the Office of the Taliban of Afghanistan, speaks during the opening of the Taliban Afghanistan Political Office in Doha, June 18, 2013.
Muhammad Naeem (L), a spokesman for the Office of the Taliban of Afghanistan, speaks during the opening of the Taliban Afghanistan Political Office in Doha, June 18, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents opened their political office in Qatar Tuesday, paving the way for direct peace talks with representatives of the Kabul government and U.S. officials.
 
Taliban representative Mohammed Sohail Shaeen announced the opening of the office in a news conference in Doha, the capital of Qatar. He said the move is part of efforts to support a peaceful political solution to Afghan problems and to improve the Taliban’s relations with the international community. The Taliban official outlined the group's objectives for its political office in Doha.

“One, to reach understanding and initiate talks with countries of the world for the purpose of improving relations with them; two, to support a political and peaceful solution, which [would] include [the] end of the occupation of Afghanistan and establishment of an independent Islamic system…; three, to hold meetings with the Afghans as times may demand,” he said.

The Taliban announcement came hours after Afghan President Hamid Karzai disclosed in Kabul that Afghanistan will soon send peace negotiators to Qatar for talks with representatives of the militant group. Karzai said there are no pre-conditions from his side for the proposed negotiations.

“But we have principles laid down, that the talks having begun in Qatar must immediately be moved to Afghanistan; second, that the talks must bring about an end to violence in Afghanistan, third, that the talks must not become a tool for any third country for exploitation with regard to its or their interests in Afghanistan.”

In a significant move, the United States said that its officials will soon travel to Qatar to hold talks with the Taliban. These talks will  mark the first direct contact between the two sides since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan nearly 12-years ago to oust the Taliban government that sheltered al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden and other operatives of the terrorist network.

The official opening of the Taliban political office in Qatar came the same day the U.S.-led NATO coalition began the final phase of handing over nationwide security responsibility to Afghan forces. Addressing a ceremony at a military academy just outside Kabul, Karzai said that the transition to Afghan forces was one of his greatest desires and will hold significant meaning to the people of Afghanistan.
 
“For the people of Afghanistan this is equally, perhaps more of a great day, where the Afghan people see their own children, their own young ones providing protection for their lives and to their country,“ he said.
 
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen also spoke on the occasion and said the alliance will continue to help Afghan troops in security operations if needed, but it will no longer plan, execute or lead the activity.
 
The security transition began in March 2011 and Tuesday’s handover of responsibility of restive eastern and southeastern provinces bordering Pakistan has marked the completion of the five-stage process.
 
But after recent high-profile insurgent attacks in Kabul, including one on Tuesday, critics are skeptical about the ability of the 350,000 Afghan security forces to deal with the Taliban insurgency after 2014, when most foreign troops will have withdrawn.  High rates of desertion and uncertainty about future foreign aid have also fueled the doubts about the integrity of the Afghan forces.

Related video by Jeff Custer:

Afghanistan Takes Control of Security from NATOi
X
June 18, 2013 2:05 PM
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, have presided at ceremonies transitioning the nation's security responsibilities to Afghan forces from the international military coalition, amid continued violence in the nation. Jeff Custer reports.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid