- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
Clinton calls on Taliban to eschew violence for peace talks
Question of the Day
The Taliban must renounce terrorism and embrace peace talks that include the Afghan government, if the militants want to restart negotiations with the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday.
The Taliban last week suspended the peace process and blamed the U.S. for the delay.
Mrs. Clinton said the Taliban must “make unambiguous statements distancing themselves from international terrorism and committing to a process that includes all Afghans” in order to advance peace efforts.
The U.S. and Afghan governments have called on the Taliban to renounce ties with al Qaeda terrorists, disarm and respect the Afghan Constitution.
Mrs. Clinton said the Obama administration supports a reconciliation process that is “Afghan-led” and “Afghan-owned.”
“Our only goal is to open the door for Afghans to sit down with other Afghans and to work out the future for their country,” she said.
Sources close to the militants said one reason the talks were derailed was because Washington has failed to meet a Taliban demand for the release of five high-value detainees from U.S. custody at the U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Taliban also opposes U.S. calls for Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government to be part of the peace process.
The Taliban refuses to talk to the Afghan government, which it refers to as a U.S. “puppet.”
The Taliban had said it would open an office in Qatar to facilitate peace talks, and Mr. Rassoul will travel there in the first week of April on a two-day visit to discuss the future on the stalled peace talks.
The pact has been held up by differences over night raids by NATO troops on terrorist suspects.
U.S. military officials say the raids have disrupted Taliban networks, but Afghans say the raids are culturally insensitive, generate ill will against the U.S. troops and trample on Afghan sovereignty.
The Karzai government wants Afghan security forces to take the lead in those raids and wants U.S. and NATO forces to shift to a supporting role. It is looking to the United States to provide assistance in the form of helicopters and intelligence.
The Karzai government also wants to wield a veto over nighttime raids, if the target is someone it considers a low-level Taliban commander or if the risk of collateral damage is high.
Earlier this month, U.S. and Afghan officials moved closer to signing the strategic partnership pact when they reached an agreement on the handover of military prisons to Afghan control.
The next meeting to discuss the agreement will be held in Kabul on Thursday.
“These are complicated issues, but we are resolving them,” Mrs. Clinton said.
Mrs. Clinton’s and Mr. Rassoul’s meeting was their first since a shooting spree, said to have been done by an Army staff sergeant, who is accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in southern Kandahar province this month.
Mr. Rassoul said a “swift and transparent” investigation and the punishment of those involved would “greatly reinforce the Afghan people’s confidence in the existing strong friendship and partnership with the United States.”
The two officials also discussed the accidental burning of Korans by U.S. troops at a military base in Afghanistan last month, as well as the transition of security responsibilities to Afghans by 2014.
President Obama wants to pull all U.S. combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Boko Haram takes credit for abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls, threatens to sell them
- Al Qaeda core degraded, but 'more aggressive' affiliates still pose threat to U.S.
- Political uncertainty and violence in first Iraqi election since U.S. withdraw
- Egypt judge sentences 683 Islamists to death over Morsi-tied violence
- Doctor's killing in latest Afghanistan attack puts NGOs in crosshairs
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq