News / Asia

Taliban Rejects Talks as Britain's Cameron Tours Region

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, right, shakes hands with British Prime Minister David Cameron during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 29, 2013.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, right, shakes hands with British Prime Minister David Cameron during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, June 29, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
International-backed efforts to seek a negotiated end to the 12 years of grinding war in Afghanistan have suffered another blow after Taliban rebels apparently rejected conditions for proposed peace talks.  The development comes as British Prime Minister David Cameron concluded a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of efforts to revive the stalled peace process. 

In its first formal reaction following the opening of the controversial Taliban political office nearly two weeks ago in Qatar, the Afghan insurgent group has harshly criticized the United States and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for allegedly “wasting time” and making “false commitments” regarding proposed peace talks.

In a Pashto language statement emailed to VOA late Saturday, a Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, says “coercion, threats, provocation” and demands that Taliban fighters surrender have not worked in the past and will not work in the future to solve the Afghan problem.

The Islamist group also accused the United States of being in a “state of confusion” and lacking a “firm stance” on the peace talks.  It also snubbed the Afghan president for his opposition to a direct dialogue between the Taliban and the United States.

Earlier, President Karzai warned foreign peace plans could weaken his country and lead to a disintegration of Afghanistan. Speaking alongside visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron in Kabul on Saturday, the Afghan president ruled out any pre-conditions by insurgents or concessions given to the Taliban for resuming talks.

“Therefore, there was that massive strong reaction to the manner in which the Taliban office in Doha was inaugurated," he said. "The Taliban, once they have joined the peace process, once they begin to talk to their Afghan brothers and sisters, if they have any demands they should put them forward and then there is a mechanism provided in our constitutions for amendments in the constitution.”

Karzai is also suspicious of the role Pakistan has played in the opening of the Taliban office in Qatar.  Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency was behind the rise of the Islamist group during Afghanistan's civil war in the 1990s.  Islamabad's admission it is trying to facilitate the current peace effort indicates the ties remain intact. 

But after talks Sunday in Islamabad with Cameron, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to address Afghan concerns.

“We believe that such a process should be inclusive, Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.  I have assured Prime Minister Cameron of our firm resolve to promote the shared objective of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, to which the three-million Afghan refugees currently living in Pakistan can return with honor and dignity,” he said.

Prime Minister Cameron welcomed his Pakistani counterpart’s pledge, saying peace and stability is vital for both the neighboring countries.

“And I know that you and President Karzai will work together towards those ends," he said.

The opening of a Taliban office in Qatar earlier this month renewed hopes over the prospect of a peaceful end to the Afghan conflict.  The United States and President Karzai revealed hours before the inaugural ceremony they were sending peace envoys to the Gulf state for holding separate meetings with the rebels.   

But the process immediately came to a halt after President Karzai angrily reacted to the Taliban raising their flag over the office and designating the Qatar facility as belonging to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the name the insurgent group used for Afghanistan during its five-year rule.

Feeling betrayed by the United States, the outraged Afghan president announced he was boycotting the peace talks and suspending negotiations with Washington on a bilateral agreement that defines the American presence in Afghanistan past 2014, when most foreign troops will have withdrawn.

Some critics are advising against holding talks with the Taliban in Qatar, citing stepped up high-profile insurgent attacks in Afghanistan.  But President Karzai says the deadly violence will not deter his government from seeking peace with the Taliban.

“We want to talk peace because that is what we are seeking because that is what the country needs that is what also the Taliban need,” he said.

Karzai accuses the U.S. and Qatari governments of allowing the Taliban to use the political office as publicity stunt to gain international credibility, charges American officials immediately rejected.  U.S. officials blamed the Taliban for violating prior understandings regarding opening of their office.

The United States later persuaded authorities in Doha, the Qatari capital, to remove the Taliban flag and the nameplate from the controversial office, and endorsed the Afghan president’s concerns.  But that seems to have upset the Taliban and since then the peace talks have been on hold with no signs of their immediate resumption.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MUSTAFA from: INDIA
July 01, 2013 1:37 AM
These brainless people(Qaida,Taliban,Nusra) can only kill innocent peoples,destroy education institutions,demolish houses of innocent peoples and that is all. They never ever think in constructive way. This is the training they got in Saudi Arabia. Still today SA is supporting terrorist organisation in the name of ISALM to kill innocent in Middle East,Pakistan,Afghanistan,Libya and so many country. Taliban getting weapons and financial support from which country and once proved we have to take action against that Govt and not againt that Country. Now a days this become habbit of Politicians to see human blood on street as to get satisfaction. We have very good intelligence in USA who can perform this tast to identify those Govt who are main sponsor for Taliban and take very harsh action against those Govts and not against countries.

by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
June 30, 2013 4:32 PM
It is the failure of the US foreign policy that there is no peace in Afghanistan. It was the foreign policy of the US that US will never negotiate with terrorists and terrorist organizations. Taliban is a terrorist organization. The US made the mistake of recognizing Taliban de facto to initiate peace negotiations. The US directly negotiated with Taliban for peace in Afghanistan excluding Afghanistan, enraging Ahmed Karzai, the President of Afghanistan. Afghanistan withdrew from peace negotiations. Now the Taliban is withdrawing from peace negotiations. The only reason that US recognized and negotiated with Taliban is for the freedom of the American in their hands in exchange for Talibans at Guantanamo, so that President Obama can close the prison in Guantanomo. When is President Obama going to recognize al Qaida, another terrorist organization?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs