News / Asia

    US Special Envoy Confident on Afghan Security Pact

    U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins speaks during a news conference in New Delhi, India, June 27, 2013.
    U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins speaks during a news conference in New Delhi, India, June 27, 2013.
    Ayaz Gul
    A top American diplomat says that even though the Taliban is unwilling to resume peace talks, the United States will continue to urge the militant group to reopen its Doha office in Qatar and join the Afghan reconciliation process. The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbins, told journalists in the Afghan capital Friday he is confident Washington and Kabul will in the next few weeks resolve differences over provisions of a bilateral security pact.

    U.S. special envoy James Dobbins said Washington was prepared to move the Doha process forward, but much depended on whether the Taliban was ready to sit down and begin discussions with the United States and Afghan peace negotiators.

    “They had not been willing to do so for the last few weeks but we have not given up. We will continue to pursue that,” he said.

    As part of U.S. plans to end the 12-year conflict in Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents were allowed this past June to open an office in the Qatari capital of Doha, where they could deploy representatives to negotiate peace.

    But when the Taliban opened the facility, the group called it an office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan -- the name the Taliban used for the country during the five years it ruled, from 1996 to 2001.  The Taliban office in Doha also raised the official Taliban flag. 

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted angrily to this, accusing the United States of encouraging the insurgents to set up a parallel government-in-exile. He also denounced plans for a direct meeting between U.S. officials and Taliban representatives at the Doha office and suspended talks with Washington over a proposed security pact.

    The strong reaction prompted American officials to ask Qatar to remove the Taliban flag and the nameplate, a move that upset the militants, who then closed the office nearly two weeks after it was opened to much fanfare. 

    U.S. envoy Dobbins reiterated Friday that the way the Taliban had opened the Doha office violated prior agreements.

    “Unfortunately, when the office opened those conditions were not fully respected. We think that was the result largely of misunderstandings rather than bad faith. We are not arguing that this was a condition of bad faith, but clearly there were some misunderstandings about the limits on that office and how it should describe itself. And so, we are ready to move forward,” he said.

    Ambassador Dobbins also emphasized that discussions between the Taliban and members of a High Peace Council appointed by the Afghan president would be key to moving the peace process forward.

    The Taliban has long refused to hold direct talks with representatives of President Karzai, accusing him of being an “American puppet.”

    During his press conference Friday in Kabul, Dobbins sounded upbeat that the United States and Afghanistan would finalize a bilateral security pact by October, when the Afghan presidential campaign was due to begin. 

    “So we think that the bilateral security agreement, which we believe has broad support in Afghanistan and it is in Afghan interest as well as our own, it is the sort of thing that would be usefully concluded before the presidential campaign starts so that it does not become a divisive issue in that campaign,” he said.

    The presidential election in Afghanistan will be held next April and recent local media reports suggested President Karzai wants to let the country's future leadership decide the fate of the proposed security agreement. Afghans are also concerned this could become a major issue in the election campaign.

    U.S. officials maintain the security agreement is needed to define the nature and role of the residual American force they want to leave in Afghanistan after most foreign troops withdraw  by end of next year.

    You May Like

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora