News / Asia

Taliban Ready For Afghan Peace Talks

The Taliban says its political wing is ready to enter peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan, but that it will not give up its armed struggle against international forces.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahed, said the insurgent group has stepped up its efforts to bring about peace in the troubled nation.  But, in the e-mailed statement, he also reiterated the Taliban's opposition to the current Afghan constitution and referred to the government led by President Hamid Karzai as a "stooge" administration.

U.S. special representative Marc Grossman (File)
U.S. special representative Marc Grossman (File)

The comments come as the U.S. special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, prepares to lead a delegation to Afghanistan next week in an effort to get approval from President Karzai for the resumption of preliminary talks with the Taliban.

Earlier this month, the Afghan Taliban said it had reached a preliminary agreement to open a political office in the Gulf state of Qatar, in a move that could help facilitate the talks.

Spokesman Mujahid said in a statement that the Taliban is asking for the release of prisoners held at the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

In Washington Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said no decisions have been made about releasing Taliban prisoners.

Clinton said the United States was ready to support an Afghan-led reconciliation process.  But she reiterated that any power-sharing deal would have to involve insurgents renouncing violence, breaking ties with al-Qaida and accepting the Afghan constitution.

The secretary also indicated progress in efforts to open a Taliban political office in Qatar, citing "positive statements" from President Karzai and the Taliban.

In December, Vice President Joe Biden said the Afghan Taliban are not America's enemies, and that the insurgent group did not represent a threat to the United States unless it continued to harbor al-Qaida terrorists.

U.S.-led forces ousted Afghanistan's Taliban government following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.  Those attacks were carried out by al-Qaida, which had training camps in Afghanistan.

The Taliban's statement on peace talks comes as violence continues in Afghanistan.

A suicide car bomber killed five people, including a local district chief, in southern Afghanistan on Thursday.

Provincial officials say the governor of Kandahar province's Panjwayi district, Fazluddin Agha, was traveling in his car with his two sons when the bomber rammed a vehicle full of explosives into them near Kandahar city.  All three were killed, as well as two of the district governor's guards.

Officials say nine police officers and a civilian were wounded.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
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.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs