News

    US-Afghan Partnership Accord Brings Challenges, Benefits

    President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai sign a strategic partnership agreement at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 2, 2012.
    President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai sign a strategic partnership agreement at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 2, 2012.
    Ayaz Gul

    The U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership agreement signed Tuesday by U.S. President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai is being greeted with mixed feelings in and outside of Afghanistan.

    While the strategic partnership deal could pose new challenges to Afghanistan, many believe it helps end any prevailing confusion about the nature of U.S.-Afghan relations once all foreign combat troops leave the country in 2014.

    Afghan lawmaker Shukria Barekzai says it is early to comment on the fate of the deal once it is presented to parliament.

    "It is very early to say that the parliament may pass [it] or not, but for my point of view as long as it is good for the country and good for the Afghan people we would like to vote for it," said Barekzai.  "We would like to accept that partnership with a very clear stand, the stand which gives us and assures the Afghans that Afghanistan will be a prosper[ous] country, which Afghans deserve. And of course, it is a very long way for us to walk, but we have to achieve, what we should."

    Kabul-based independent researcher Omar Sharifi says that the strategic bilateral agreement also sends a strong message to the Taliban and other insurgent groups that they will not be allowed to return Afghanistan to the civil war of the 1990s.

    "But the main question remains with almost every single Afghan right now, especially in the decision-making circles, will we have enough capacity to implement this agreement and to show that we are capable both structurally and in terms of politically thinking to be a good partner in this agreement," said Sharifi.

    President Obama signed the agreement with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai during Tuesday's unannounced visit to Kabul. The document defines the role of the remaining American forces in Afghanistan after 2014, with troops staying on to support counterterrorism and training efforts.

    Analysts in neighboring Pakistan, including former ambassador to the U.S. Maliha Lodhi, believe winding down the Afghan war can have a far-reaching effect on regional stability.

    "For 11 years Pakistan has wanted to hear these kinds of words from an American president that the war is ending, and the first time, I have heard an American president talk about a negotiated peace with the Taliban," said Lodhi.  "President Obama, it was very significant, said in his speech that his administration was in direct discussions with the Taliban. So overall, I think, the president's speech would be welcomed by Pakistan."   

    Lodhi says Pakistan has been unable to successfully crack down on Islamist insurgents along its border with Afghanistan partly because the presence of foreign troops next door has helped fuel militancy in the region.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Mike
    May 02, 2012 1:55 PM
    The sooner we get out of that mess the better for everyone. I can't express enough anger at getting us involved in that "place." What a waste of life and coin. Total waste. And the people there have absolutely no idea what oportunity they are missing. 100 years from now they may get another chance and I hope they are ready by then to join modern society.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora