News / Asia

    Taliban: 'Unaware' of Upcoming Peace Talks

    Afghan Foreign Minister, Salahuddin Rabbani, center, starts the meeting to discus a road map for ending the war with the Taliban at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 23, 2016.
    Afghan Foreign Minister, Salahuddin Rabbani, center, starts the meeting to discus a road map for ending the war with the Taliban at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 23, 2016.
    Ayaz Gul

    Afghanistan's Taliban says it is unaware of upcoming peace talks with the Kabul government, reiterating no such move can succeed until foreign forces completely withdraw and Sharia (Islamic system) is enforced in the country.

    Tuesday, a four-nation group working for Afghan peace invited all Taliban and other groups to participate through their authorized representatives in the first round of direct peace talks with the Afghan government by the first week of March in Pakistan.

    A spokesman for the Taliban’s so-called political office in Qatar, Mohammad Naeem, told VOA he has seen media reports about possible peace talks with the Afghan government, but said the insurgent group was unaware of any such plans.

    “We do not have any information in this regard so far. So to say anything will be premature,” Naeem asserted.

    He said “the presence of foreign invaders” in the country was “the real issue” and there could be no resolution to the Afghan problem unless all foreign troops withdrew and an “Islamic system” was enforced in Afghanistan.

    “These are not conditions, but are ground realities and facts, and without addressing them problems could not be solved. Unless there is a determination [by the other side] to solve them difficulties will increase and not decrease,” said the spokesman.

    Afghan, Pakistani, U.S. and Chinese diplomats have been holding regular meetings since the beginning of the year to try to arrange Afghan peace talks.

    Their meeting Tuesday Kabul ended with “great hopes” and “optimism” that a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Afghanistan was in sight, a Pakistani official with direct knowledge of the discussions told VOA.

    Meanwhile, speaking in Kabul Wednesday, Afghan national security adviser Hanif Atmar urged all insurgent groups take the opportunity to attend the upcoming peace talks with the government.

    “But if they do not use this opportunity we are determined to take both defensive and security actions against them,” he warned.

    Atmar went on to assert that in Tuesday’s four-way talks in Kabul, participating nations vowed to take joint steps, including military means against insurgent groups who refuse to join the Afghan peace process and continue with their violent acts against the people of Afghanistan.

    The national security adviser was speaking in the Afghan capital after receiving 10,000-automatic rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition as a gift from Russia. He explained the guns and ammunition were provided under an existing bilateral agreement between Kabul and and Moscow.

    The donation of weapons is the first Russian military assistance to Kabul and another sign of Moscow's deepening involvement in Afghanistan.

    You May Like

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora