News / Asia

Taliban Strikes Preliminary Deal for Qatar Office

Taliban Strikes Preliminary Deal for Qatar Office
Taliban Strikes Preliminary Deal for Qatar Office

The Afghan Taliban said Tuesday it has reached a preliminary agreement to open a political office in the Gulf state of Qatar, in a move that could help facilitate peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan.

The announcement came in an e-mailed statement from Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, who also said the group is asking for the release of prisoners held at the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba as part of a peace deal.

Members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council welcomed the Taliban announcement Tuesday. Afghan officials originally had resisted the idea of a Taliban liaison office in Qatar, and the September assassination of President Hamid Karzai's peace envoy, former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, appeared to seriously set back efforts to reach a peace deal.

But President Karzai later said his government would accept the liaison office. In December, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the Afghan Taliban is not an enemy of America and does not represent a threat to the United States as long as it does not harbor al-Qaida terrorists.

Media reports have quoted U.S. officials as saying that Washington is open to negotiating a peace agreement with the Taliban, and that a possible deal could include the transfer of Taliban prisoners.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann tells says Qatar represents a neutral place for the sides to meet, as it does not have the close traditional ties with Washington that Saudi Arabia and Turkey do. Both of those countries had been named as the possible site for the Taliban liaison office.

U.S.-led forces ousted Afghanistan's Taliban government following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Al-Qaida was responsible for the attacks and had training camps in Afghanistan.

The news follows months of failed efforts by Afghan and U.S. officials at starting talks with the Taliban to end the 10-year-old war in Afghanistan.

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

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs