News / Middle East

US: Taliban Opening Office Could Play Positive Role in Afghan Talks

State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)
State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (file photo)

The United States said Tuesday that Taliban moves to open a political office in Qatar could play a positive role in ending the war in Afghanistan.  

State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington has received no formal notification of Taliban plans to open an office in Doha, but that the Obama administration is willing to support the move if it is part of Afghan-led reconciliation.

"The Afghans have to be in the lead," said Nuland. "This is their country.  We will support a process that leads to reconciliation along the lines that we have discussed.”

In an e-mail statement, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the office will help his group “reach an understanding with the international community.”  But he made no mention of the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai, which the Taliban calls a “puppet regime."

Nuland said the new office will make a difference only if Taliban leaders meet the Afghan government's conditions for reconciliation.

"This process will only be successful if those Taliban are prepared to renounce violence, break ties with al-Qaida, support the Afghan constitution in all of its elements - including human rights for all citizens in particular for women," she said.

The Taliban statement also called for the release of prisoners held at the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.  Nuland declined to comment on the demand, saying that Washington supports talks with former fighters who are ready for peace.

"Are there individual fighters of strategic significance who are prepared to come off the battlefield and join the political process within the framework that the Afghans have discussed and that we have supported?," asked Nuland.

Nuland said the opening of a Taliban office would facilitate reconciliation by addressing one of the biggest obstacles identified by a recent meeting of Afghan elders.

"You have to have a political address, if you are going to begin a political conversation," she said. "The Afghans themselves have said that they are frustrated that the Taliban do not have a political address.  That is what the loya jirga called for.”

Asked why Washington would support talks with the group it went to war with after the terrorist attacks of 2001 on the United States, Nuland cited Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's often repeated response, "You don't negotiate with your friends.”  

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs