News / Asia

Violence, Political Uncertainty Plague Post-Jirga Afghanistan

Sean Maroney

Since Afghan President Hamid Karzai's much anticipated peace assembly earlier this month, the Taliban has launched a series of high profile attacks.  Meanwhile, the top U.S. commander in the country, General Stanley McChrystal says the fight against the Taliban will take longer than anticipated in the south.  

Analysts say several high profile attacks this week show the Taliban will not back down as coalition and Afghan forces prepare for a major offensive to drive them from their southern stronghold in Kandahar province.

Afghan authorities are blaming the Taliban for an attack on a wedding late Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, which killed nearly 40 people.  The Taliban deny responsibility, but the groom had links to anti-Taliban groups.  Also, Monday was the deadliest day so far this year for international forces in Afghanistan. Ten NATO soldiers, seven of them Americans, were killed in separate attacks in the eastern and southern parts of the country that day.

With this new violence, the director of Afghanistan's Center for Research and Policy Studies, Haroun Mir, said that he believes next month's scheduled international conference in Kabul might not happen.

"I don't think that it would be appropriate for a foreign minister from Europe to attend [the] Kabul conference when we know that there's a huge risk, tremendous risk, that they could be eliminated by one rocket attack," said Haroun Mir. "All we need is one rocket attack, and all these ministers are flying back to their homes and that would be a big humiliation."

Even the top U.S. commander in the country, General Stanley McChrystal, said this week he expects the Kandahar offensive to take longer than anticipated.

"There are going to be tough days ahead," said General McChrystal. "Violence is up, and I think violence will continue to rise, particularly over the summer months.  It is necessary that we roll back Taliban influence as we move toward increased security in the future."

But McChrystal says that despite the violence, he thinks the perception of the insurgent's momentum is reversing.

It's this reversal in momentum that President Karzai and analysts hope will convince the Taliban to sit down for peace talks.

But Amrullah Saleh has a different idea.  Saleh is the former head of the Afghan National Directorate of Security.  He resigned from the post, along with the country's interior minister, following the insurgent attack on the peace jirga earlier this month.

Saleh criticized Mr. Karzai for wanting to reconcile with the Taliban.

"I want a dignified peace, a peace which will not reverse our achievements, a peace which will not undermine our constitution, a peace which will not allow a small terrorist group to dominate the political scene in Afghanistan," said Amrullah Saleh. "Therefore, I am in favor of peace but I am against bowing to the Taliban."

He also has said that he believes President Karzai is taking a softer approach toward Pakistan in a bid to negotiate with the Taliban.  Saleh referred to Pakistan as Afghanistan's enemy number one for its alleged support of the Taliban.

Ayaz Wazir is Pakistan's former ambassador to Kabul.  He said that he disagrees with Saleh, and he wonders about his motives for making these statements now, especially after his resignation.

"Had Pakistan been the 'enemy number one', then why was the intelligence chief not saying so before?  Now when he is resigned, he is accusing [a] neighboring country," said Ayaz Wazir.

In another blow to the coalition, Britain's newly elected government says it will not pledge more troops, despite being one of America's biggest partners in the country since the toppling of the Taliban-led government in 2001.

Haroun Mir with Afghanistan's Center for Research and Policy Studies says all these factors teach the Taliban an important lesson.

"You know with one [or] three rocket fires, they were able to get the resignations of two important ministers, and now the NATO  countries have lost their will," he said.

He also says it seems unlikely that the Taliban will want to negotiate if they believe they have the upper hand against a coalition in flux and what Mir calls a dysfunctional government.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs