Afghanistan’s president declined to sign a security deal approved by a group of Afghan elders, delaying the process to plan for a United States’s military presence after 2014.
Hamid Karzai said Sunday he would not sign the Bilateral Security Agreement unless the conditions of “security,” “peace” and “a proper election” on April 5 had been met, the Associated Press reports. The Loya Jirga, a national consortium of Afghan leaders and tribe elders who overwhelmingly approved the deal, urged Karzai to approve it before the end of the year.
President Barack Obama’s administration has warned Afghanistan leaders that if the deal is not approved before next year, it could compromise the agreement to allow U.S. soldiers to remain to train and assist government security with a mounting Taliban insurgency.
The never-ending debate over the United States and Afghanistan relations continue. Political differences over the long up-and-down history between the two nations have delayed reaching a such agreement on Afghanistan security provided by the U.S. past 2014.
12:50 // 1 week ago
"I have seen death already. So now I’m more powerful. Now I’m more courageous."
-Malala Yousafzai on the Taliban.
Watch her full interview here.
Yousafzai has been highly visible throughout her United States trip, also appearing on The Daily Show last Thursday, and being met with standing ovations at a pair of events in Washington, DC today.
20:37 // 1 month ago
A senior Taliban commander who the Afghan government believes could be key to brokering a political settlement in Afghanistan will be released later this month, Pakistan’s most senior foreign affairs official has announced.
Islamabad has long-resisted demands by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, to free Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s former second-in-command, who it is hoped could initiate a peace process between Kabul and hardline rebels who once ruled the country.
Sartaj Aziz, the prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser, said Pakistan had finally agreed to hand him over after an apparent improvement in the tempestuous relationship between the two countries.
An exact timeline for Baradar’s release hasn’t been decided; however, Sartaj Aziz has been quoted as saying that the Taliban leader is expected to be freed before the end of September. While many are hesitant to see an accused Taliban leader set free, many who are more familiar with the region are hailing the move as a step forward in Pakistan-Afghan relations.
14:43 // 2 months ago
Taliban gunmen launched a suicide attack near the presidential palace and CIA offices in Kabul after using fake security passes to get into the fortified diplomatic zone and killing three checkpoint guards.
Attackers jumped out of a vehicle at a roundabout near the Salam Khana (Welcome Home) gate of the presidential palace and opened fire on guards and the former Ariana hotel nearby, which has been used as a CIA base for more than a decade.
A spokesman for the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, said the fighting never approached the palace’s inner area of homes and offices, which lies behind walls that are dozens of metres thick in places.
Some believe the Taliban are trying to send the message that they are well-prepared for a return to hostility, should the proposed U.S.-Afghan-Taliban negotiations fail to get back on track. While the Taliban has confirmed that it was behind the breach, the group doesn’t appear to have offered an official reason for the attack at this time.
19:47 // 5 months ago
A fresh effort to end Afghanistan’s 12-year-old war looked in disarray on Thursday after a diplomatic row about the Taliban’s new Qatar office delayed preliminary discussions between the US and the Islamist insurgents.
Talks between US officials and Taliban representatives had been set for Thursday in the Gulf state but Afghan government anger at the opening of a Taliban office there threw preparations into confusion.
The dispute may set the tone for what could be long and arduous negotiations to end a war that has raged since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Probably not a good sign of things to come. Anybody think these peace talks will actually lead to anything productive?
15:58 // 5 months ago
The United States will meet the Taliban in Doha for talks aimed at achieving peace in Afghanistan, where the United States has battled the insurgents for 12 years, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, warned that the process would likely be lengthy.
They said the Taliban would issue a statement on Tuesday opposing the use of Afghan soil for attacks on other countries and that they support an Afghan peace process.
The United States will insist the Taliban break ties with al Qaeda, end violence, and accept the Afghan constitution, including protection for women and minorities, the officials told reporters in a conference call.
We expect to see quite a bit of debate over these peace talks in the coming days, as many on both sides of the aisle have long-opposed direct negotiations with the Taliban. Particularly since it’s believed that an exchange of detainees is likely to be included in any deal that’s reached by the two sides.
15:37 // 5 months ago
A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has been captured in south-eastern Afghanistan in what was hailed as a major sign of much improved relations between the two neighbouring countries.
Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, described as a top-ranking Pakistani member of the Taliban, was captured on Monday, along with three of his bodyguards and a small cache of weapons, in Mohmand Dara district, which shares a border with Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region.
The ambush was carried out by Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), and the Afghan police, an official in Nangarhar said.
With some worried that the Taliban could continue to gain ground in both countries, an allied front from the two nations’ governments should certainly increase regional stability in the weeks and months to come, and assuage the concerns of some doubters.
17:43 // 9 months ago