News / USA

US Presses for Greater Pakistani Role in Afghan Peace Process

Turkish President Abdullah Gul, left, his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, right, and President Asif Ali Zardari of Palistan walk after a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkey is hosting a conference this week on creating a regional strategy for improving s
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, left, his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, right, and President Asif Ali Zardari of Palistan walk after a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkey is hosting a conference this week on creating a regional strategy for improving s

Foreign ministers are meeting in Turkey this week to endorse Afghan efforts for a political solution to the decade-long conflict and to determine a plan for a sustainable Afghan economy. Analysts say the cooperation of Afghanistan's neighbor Pakistan is crucial to these efforts, particularly in the Afghan-led reconciliation process with insurgents.


U.S. and NATO forces plan to end their combat role in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, after transferring security responsibility to their Afghan counterparts.

This week's regional meeting in the Turkish city of Istanbul followed by the Bonn conference in early December are part of efforts to keep the international community, especially Afghanistan’s neighbors, engaged following the withdrawal of international troops.

But several high-profile attacks have prompted skepticism about the ability of local forces to sustain security gains. And some analysts say reconciliation with Afghan insurgents, including the al-Qaida-linked militant Haqqani network, holds the key to end the violence.

Maleeha Lodhi is a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington. “I think the Istanbul conference will be an important step in getting the regional countries to endorse the idea of reconciliation in Afghanistan to ensure that there are no spoilers amongst regional countries for peace talks that lie ahead between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” Lodhi stated.

Afghan and U.S. officials say Pakistan can play a crucial role in bringing insurgents to the negotiating table.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last month that the United States supports an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan but will not hesitate to step up military action against insurgents unwilling to engage in such talks.

“Coalition and Afghan Forces are increasing the pressure on Taliban in Afghanistan and across the border," Clinton said. "We look to Pakistan to take strong steps to deny Afghan insurgents safe havens and to encourage the Taliban to enter negotiations in good faith. “

Pakistani leaders deny allegations the country is harboring Afghan insurgents. Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said during recent talks with Clinton that Pakistan is ready to do whatever it can to support efforts aimed at stabilizing Afghanistan.

"We must explore and give peace a chance on both sides of the border and as and when that does not work we can look whatever options exist. People living on both sides of the border have seen too many years of conflict," Khar noted. "Have seen too many years of strife, have seen too many years of uncertainty."

Analysts like former Pakistani diplomat Maleeha Lodhi say that improved ties between Washington and Islamabad will enable them to narrow differences on how to take the Afghan peace efforts further.

"Pakistan advocates that there should be a reduction of violence to create the space for these talks. America is still insisting that there is no contradiction in their fight and talk approach. Pakistan believes you can’t do both at the same time nor can you expect Pakistan then to carry out contradictory objectives. So I think going forward these are important issues that the two countries will have to resolve and reconcile so that we can get to the common goal and it is a common goal to see peace in Afghanistan and peace on Pakistan’s border,” Lodhi said.

The conference in Istanbul is taking place after the September 20 assassination of Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator, former President Burhanuddin Rabbani, which halted the reconciliation process in the country.  

Afghanistan accused Pakistan's military spy agency of involvement in the attack, an allegation that Pakistan strongly denied.

Pakistani and Afghan leaders on Tuesday held their first talks since the assassination, in a Turkish-mediated meeting aimed at reducing tensions between the two neighbors.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid