News / Asia

US Says Talks with Taliban Fail to Get Off the Ground

US ambassador in Afghanistan, James Cunningham, speaks during a news event at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 17, 2013.
US ambassador in Afghanistan, James Cunningham, speaks during a news event at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 17, 2013.
Sharon Behn
— Hopes for a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan rose in recent months with the news that the Taliban was about to open an office in Doha, Qatar, and start talks with the United States and Afghan representatives. But in the wake of a dispute between the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the militant group, the U.S. says the talks have apparently failed to get off the ground.

U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham said Wednesday that it is not clear if the Taliban are ready to sit down for talks. 

“We hope that those discussions will take place, we know that the government of Afghanistan wants them as do we, but it’s up to the Taliban now to decide whether to take advantage of the opportunity that’s provided to have a discussion with Afghans, with the Afghan High Peace Council, about the future of Afghanistan and about peace and reconciliation,” he said.

President Hamid Karzai boycotted the talks with the Taliban when the militants raised the flag under which they had once ruled Afghanistan at their Doha office.

Ambassador Cunningham said Washington immediately voiced its displeasure over the raising of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan flag. He said that U.S. special envoy James Dobbins did not meet with the militants in Doha during his trip to the region this week because they had not responded to the necessary conditions for the talks, including meeting with Afghan High Peace Council representatives.

“That is the key part of the whole process, is to get the Taliban talking to the High Peace Council. That is what we agreed in Washington with President Karzai would be the goal of the [Doha] office. And that’s because the future of Afghanistan needs to be discussed among Afghans - that is not our discussion, that is for an Afghan discussion and negotiation,” said the ambassador.

Cunningham said if the Taliban were not ready to meet the conditions laid out for the talks, the U.S. would consider closing the Doha office altogether.

The Taliban, meanwhile, have continued to carry out attacks across Afghanistan. In the latest, four militants died Tuesday trying to break through a security cordon with explosive-filled vehicles into the Presidential Palace compound.

Washington has been trying to get the two sides to negotiate an end to the 12 years of war in Afghanistan - a goal seen as particularly crucial now that international combat forces are preparing to leave the country by the end of 2014.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid