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

A Russian capsule that housed a gecko space-sex experiment. The geckos all died.

Russian Space Experiment On Gecko Sex Goes Awry

A returned space capsule was opened to reveal frozen gecko remains inside, disappointing scientists. On the bright side, the fruit flies that were aboard made it.


Cookie Monster and John Oliver anchor a special report on words.

John Oliver And Cookie Monster, On The News Beat

Just in time for the back-to-school season, funny newsman John Oliver and incorrigible consumer Cookie Monster co-anchor a news special on words.


New U.S. Rules Protect Giant Bluefin Tuna

To reduce the number of giant bluefin tuna killed by fishing fleets, the U.S. is putting out new rules about commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the western Atlantic.


In this handout image made available by the photographer American journalist Steven Sotloff (left) talks to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front line on June 2, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 near Aleppo, Syria.

Islamic State Claims It Has Beheaded Second American Journalist

The Islamist militant group had threatened to kill Steven Sotloff if the U.S. continued to conduct airstrikes in Iraq. Sotloff’s mother released a video last week pleading for the release of her son.


Celebrity Photo Leak Puts Spotlight On The Cloud, And Security

Publication of private photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities raises new questions about storing personal data online. Apple says its systems weren’t breached.


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