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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs