News / Asia

Taliban, US Begin Talks in Qatar

TEXT SIZE - +

Afghan Taliban negotiators are meeting with U.S. officials in Qatar for a series of discussions aimed at building trust between the two sides ahead of the upcoming peace talks.

Maulavi Qalamuddin, who once led the group's religious police, said Sunday the delegation includes several former officials, as well as a former secretary to the Taliban's leader, Mullah Omar.

Qalamuddin said the talks include the possible release of Taliban prisoners from the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He said the delegation traveled to Qatar from Pakistan - a possible sign that Islamabad might support the peace process.

VOA’s Ira Mellman spoke with Michael Semple, Fellow with the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Semple says there are two processes underway in Afghanistan. One is a “real political process” and the other a “great media war."

Meanwhile, Afghan officials said Sunday they will soon open a second front of negotiations with the Taliban, meeting in Saudi Arabia in an attempt to bring an end to the decade-long Afghan war.

In Brussels Monday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance will adhere to its plans to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen talks during the presentation of NATO's Annual Report 2011at NATO headquarters in Brussels, January 26, 2012.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen talks during the presentation of NATO's Annual Report 2011at NATO headquarters in Brussels, January 26, 2012.
Rasmussen said NATO expects the final transition of provinces and districts to lead Afghan responsibility by mid-2013. He said that, from that time on, the alliance can gradually change the role of its forces from combat to support.

Pakistani officials have declined to comment on the country's role in contacts between the Taliban and the United States. But a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Abdul Basit, has reiterated that Islamabad will continue to make contributions toward achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Also on Sunday, Pakistan said Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will travel to Afghanistan Wednesday to discuss the war on terror and political reconciliation efforts. Khar is expected to meet with her Pakistani counterpart, Zalmai Rassoul, and make a "courtesy call" on President Hamid Karzai.

U.S. officials have yet to comment on the latest developments.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population 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.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid