Nation & World News

‘Secret Contacts’ Reported Between Afghan President, Taliban

By Mark Memmott on February 4th, 2014

It’s a question that’s been vexing American diplomats for months:

Why won’t Afghan President Hamid Karzai sign a security agreement with the U.S. — a deal that President Obama and his aides say needs Karzai’s signature if any American troops are going to stay in Afghanistan beyond the end of this year?

As Sean Carberry, NPR’s Kabul correspondent, has said:

“There are a lot of theories. They seem to be boiling down to two main lines of thought here. One is that he’s trying to hold on to power in the waning days of his presidency. … The second thing is that he’s saying he will sign this when a peace process begins with the Taliban, demanding the U.S. start that process. So he appears to think that in his waning days, he can get a peace deal that hasn’t happened for the last 12 years.”

Tuesday, The New York Times added to the evidence about Karzai’s desire to talk peace with the Taliban and how that might be a major reason he has balked at signing the security agreement.

“President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has been engaged in secret contacts with the Taliban about reaching a peace agreement without the involvement of his American and Western allies,” the Times reported. It cited “Western and Afghan officials” as its sources and quoted Aimal Faizi, a Karzai spokesman, as acknowledging the secret contacts and that they continue.

The Times adds that:

” ‘The last two months have been very positive,’ Mr. Faizi said. He characterized the contacts as among the most serious the presidential palace has had since the war began. ‘These parties were encouraged by the president’s stance on the bilateral security agreement [with the U.S.] and his speeches afterwards,’ he said.”

According to the Times’ report:

“The clandestine contacts with the Taliban have borne little fruit, according to people who have been told about them. But they have helped undermine the remaining confidence between the United States and Mr. Karzai, making the already messy endgame of the Afghan conflict even more volatile.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

GDP Posts Strong 3.5 Percent Growth Rate In 3rd Quarter

The economy performed better-than-expected in the July-September period, after making a 4.6 percent jump in the second quarter of the year.


Palestinians Condemn Closure Of Disputed Religious Site In Jerusalem

Israel closed the Temple Mount, holy to both Muslims and Jews, following an assassination attempt against a right-wing Jewish activist who wants Jews to be able to pray at the site.


Poet Carolyn Forche stands with her friend and mentor Galway Kinnell (right) during a trip to Japan to attend the Asian Writers Congress in 1983.

Book News: Remembering Poet Galway Kinnell, Whose Song Said Everything

The Pulitzer Prize winner has died at the age of 87. In his deceptively simple poetry and in his activism, Kinnell sought to broaden his audience, even while grappling with difficult themes.


The home of Theodore Wilbur, boyfriend of Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was released from New Jersey's mandatory quarantine for certain travelers from Ebola-stricken West Africa, is seen in Fort Kent, Maine.

Nurse In Maine Breaches Quarantine With Bike Ride

Kaci Hickox openly defies the state’s governor, who has threatened to get a court order to compel her isolation, by setting off on a morning ride with her boyfriend.


Apple CEO Tim Cook waves to a crowd before he is honored by the Alabama Academy of Honor at the Alabama state Capitol on  Monday.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Comes Out As Gay

The head of the world’s most iconic technology company says that although his sexual orientation has been no secret among friends and colleagues, now is the time to publicly acknowledge it.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments