October 6th, 2010
11:16 AM ET

In Afghanistan, a dialogue paving the way to peace

Political figures from Pakistan and Afghanistan are sitting down this week in Kabul for a dialogue aimed at ending the nine-year-old Afghan war, in what one Afghan official called a "new phase" in building bridges and making peace with the Taliban.

Former Pakistani government officials and political party leaders met Afghan leaders at the Serena Hotel on Tuesday and Wednesday, Farouq Wardak, Afghanistan's education minister, told CNN in an exclusive interview.

He said the Taliban did not participate, though Mullah Zaeef - the ex-Taliban ambassador to Pakistan who served time in the Guantanamo detention center and is now living openly in Kabul - did attend.

Two other sources confirmed Zaeef's presence at the meetings.

Wardak said that "there have been approaches by various groups claiming be the Taliban" to the Afghan government who've expressed interest in joining mainstream Afghan society, and he called the effort a "new phase" in what has been a long process.

"They want to join the main social political stream of the Afghan society. And they want to live in peace," he said.

Wardak said there are challenges in engaging diplomatically with the Taliban. In the 1990s, there was a Taliban hierarchy and "a kind of structure."

"And the structure was so that if you can talk to the people on the top, the message can go down easily. But today that does not exist. This is to the negative side of it," he said.

"This is a process. A process may have different steps. At some steps we may be talking with individual and lower rank of Taliban. But it may go to that we reach the middle level of Taliban, even upper level of Taliban," Wardak said.

An aide to Wardak said the United Arab Emirates ambassador and the U.N. Special Representative to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, were also present at the latest meetings.

The talks are part of the so-called Abu Dhabi process, started by the EastWest Insitute, and they follow a meeting held in June in Abu Dhabi.

Five sources, who asked not to be named because of the delicacy of the discussions, confirmed the meetings.

The talks "are entirely of a consultative nature," said one of the sources, noting that the purpose of the dialogue is "to build trust between sections of Afghan society and Pakistan."

While one Afghan political figure stressed that the effort was not initiated by the Afghan government, the group met with President Hamid Karzai for lunch Wednesday to report on the progress of the meeting.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Taliban representatives and the Karzai government "have begun secret, high-level talks over a negotiated end to the war," citing Afghan and Arab sources. But is unclear whether the Abu Dhabi process dialogue in Kabul is the same process cited in that report.

There have been contacts between the Afghan government and Taliban members in recent years, such as meetings in Saudi Arabia, and the government has focused on reconciliation efforts wtih the Taliban.

The Karzai government recently announced the creation of a High Peace Council that was assigned the mandate of paving the way toward peace with the Taliban, which was thrown out of power in Afghanistan when the United States invaded the country in 2001.

U.S. Gen. David Petraeus told journalists last month that "there are very high-level Taliban leaders who have sought to reach out to the highest levels of the Afghan government."

Petraeus expressed support for Afghan government efforts to negotiate with the Taliban, saying "this is the way you end insurgencies."

But the Afghan government tried to downplay his remarks.

"There are no substantive negotiations or substantive dialogue with the armed opposition," said a Karzai spokesman.

The Taliban rejected the Petraeus claims and ridiculed the creation of a peace council.

The EastWest Institute said in a report published after the opening meeting in June that "there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan" and explained that a "dialogue leading to political settlement should therefore begin soon."

It also said the Afghan-Pakistani relationship is "key to any successful political settlement."

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Kabul • Karzai • Life and Culture • Pakistan • Taliban
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Katty Karver

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    January 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jester

    Secret talks !! so US is playing double game too and accuse Paksitan of it. I think they have been talking since a long time, thats why you see those GSM Operators doing bussiness in Afghanistan, a lot of shadow agreements are already there,

    October 8, 2010 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nobodysfool

    So . . . does it mean that if there is "peace" they are going to let us build that pipeline from the Caspian and pump all that oil and gas out and stick it to the Russians?


    October 8, 2010 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. Old Sarge

    Look Omar-up in the air-there is another Drone looking at you-duck back in your cave and hide in that worthless 75% of land you say the Mujahideen rules!

    October 7, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Don't tell Them to do that!!! How do You expect us to kill Them???

      October 7, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        It's okay, only 11% of them can read.

        October 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Omar

    Nine years ago, the brutal Americans attacked Afghanistan in contradiction of all human and moral norms, under the leadership of the most disgustful president G. W. Bush in the name of furthering the Crusade. At the outset, no one believed that the Afghans, who had already passed through hardships because of long wars, would ever be able to confront the attack launched by the most arrogant and highly- trained forces of the 21st century. Based on these predictions, former US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield, who was wallowing in his wishful delusions due to his arrogance, announced the end of the American military operations after six months of the invasion– thinking that the Afghans’ capability to face the invaders have come to and end. But today, 9 years after that announcement, the strongholds of Jihad and resistance against the invading Americans and their allies are as strong as ever.

    Every day, tens of foreign invaders lose their lives. Throughout the past nine years, neither they have been able to implement their empty slogans nor could they stop the Jihadic activities of the Muslim Afghans. During that period, the invading Americans spent hundreds of billions of dollars in order to continue this illegitimate war; lost thousands of soldiers, with tens of thousands of them being injured, and faced heavy losses in terms of military hardware, but now after all that, they have only reached the conclusion to admit to the American public and to the public of the world that the current year 2010 was the most fatal year for the foreign forces. Nothing new they offered. The invading Americans and their coalition allies have put to use all their military and economic capability to maintain their brutal occupation over Afghanistan and bring it to a successful end. Even they implemented different strategies; appointed the most sophisticated and veteran generals and launched various conspiracies with the help of their surrogates to stymie the popular resistance but, all that notwithstanding, we can make a cursory comparison regarding the achievements of both sides of the wars on this occasion of the ninth anniversary of the Americans invasion of Afghanistan as under:

    1. All American rulers including Obama are disappointed of the results of the war in Afghanistan.

    2. Internal differences have arisen among the rulers of the White House regarding the poor results of the failed Afghanistan war.

    3. A number of coalition countries have pulled out of the military mission in Afghanistan because of the prolongation of the failed nine-year long war and the emergence of the atmosphere of lack of confidence.

    4. All Americans and NATO military strategies have failed in face of the resistance of the Mujahideen.

    Last but not least, the American arrogance and reputation plummeted at world level in view of the fact that the highly-trained American and NATO forces failed to wipe out the resistance of the empty-handed Afghan Muajhideen. Similarly, the American economy faced unprecedented melt-down.

    Now the Achievement of the Mujahideen:

    1. Mujhideen have control over 75% of land in Afghanistan according to the admission made by the Americans.

    2. Mujahideen are able to target all American military bases, ranging from the gates of the presidential place to the Bagram military Base, to Kandahar and Nagarhar airports etc.

    3. The public of the world, particularly the people of Afghanistan, have enhanced their support to the current Islamic resistance against the invaders.

    4. Mujahideen now control all high ways of the country.

    5. Mujahveen have obtained (new) military experiences and capability in killing and wiping out the American invaders.

    On the basis of the above comparative statement, now every one can predict the Americans and their allies chance of success in Afghanistan. Only the confused rulers of the White House, due to their arrogance and stubbornness, are bent on continuing the occupation of Afghanistan and adding to the sufferings of the miserable Afghans.

    Considering defense of the territorial integrity of the Islamic country and Jihad against the invading Americans as an Islamic obligation, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan advises the confused American rulers: come to yourselves and have mercy on your people by immediately pulling out of Afghanistan. The Mujahid Afghans consider every sacrifice including martyrdom at the strongholds of Jihad and defense as a pride, even now after nine years of continuous Jihad and resistance. However, the American people will not have the patience to see corpses of their dead soldiers who have lost their lives for the protection of the personal interests of the American capitalists.

    “Those who have done wrong, will soon know how ( bad) come-back they will have (at the doomsday)” Al-Quran.

    October 7, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      Omar, Where in the hell did you get all these Bullshiite "Facts" from? Pull your head out of your @ss.

      October 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel-2

      Beautifully put,Omar. I see that Phunnie boy usurped the Prophet Mohammed's name above trying to belittle him too!

      October 7, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        Daniel-2 Pull your head out of you @ss too, the prophet has spoken.

        October 8, 2010 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Daniel-2

    I bet that all these right-wing,war loving,tea partying fools would bawl like a bunch of babies if peace ever broke out over there! But not me!!!

    October 6, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Military-Industrial-Complex Right Wing Thug Predator Drone Bla Bla Bla Filthy Creep Hindu

      Buddy, a lot of those "right-wing,war loving,tea partying fools" have sons, daughters, or spouses in Afghanistan. Believe me, they want peace.

      October 6, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        The only think the TEA PARTY has any where is Their Crazy out there lying!!! Their Children are out Their not in Afghanistan fighting!!! The only ones there are the Democrats because they are from the Poor Families...

        October 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Daniel-2

        Good posting,Larry. How right you are!

        October 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Old Sarge

    Iran-be ready-watch your 6-it will be over real soon!

    October 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    It would be great indeed if they found a way to stop this insane bloodshed over there. What I find disgusting is the people blogging in here to say how "great" this obnoxious war is.

    October 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      i hope u loose all of your popi seeds... Your drug problem... I hope that u can't get anymore and u start to itch and throw up and get very sick.... This war will end with the USA on top

      October 7, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      You are a real Idiot!!! I hope Your just kidding about what You say??? Because if it is True we should kill You!!!

      October 7, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      Like I said, Thieves and Liars:
      Has anyone ever heard the story of Ali Babba? (The 40 thieves) He is a folklore hero for the regeon and middle easterners pride themselves on being good thieves and liars. To them it is not looked at the same as it is in the west, for them it is a thing of pride. In the west there is a saying, "I hate a thief and Liar". That should explain a lot when you read these bull-shiite blogs. Thieves and Liars.

      October 7, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Abdulameer

    Peace? Political settlement?
    It is all about establishing a sharia-law state. Actually, OUR Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is already a sharia-law state, but not quite a much of one as the Taliban would like. All of them are devoted to the doctrines of Islam which teach that non-Moslems are subhuman enemies and that Moslems must make war against them. That is what the Koran says. That is what Allah says.

    October 6, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      Has anyone ever heard the story of Ali Babba? (The 40 thieves) He is a folklore hero for the regeon and middle easterners pride themselves on being good thieves and liars. To them it is not looked at the same as it is in the west, for them it is a thing of pride. In the west there is a saying, "I hate a thief and Liar". That should explain a lot when you read these bull-shiite blogs. Thieves and Liars.

      October 7, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jester

      man you really do not know how to pretend as a Muslim, there is no such thing in Quran, what your are referring to is interpretation of a group or individuals

      October 8, 2010 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bledsoe

    It would be beautiful if they could get peace talks going with the Taliban leaders but will NATO stand in the way? I sincerely hope not!

    October 6, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • sharefacts

      9+ years and now Taliban control 80%of Afghanistan. We have the watch and Taliban have all the time. They will fight for decade if needed, because they are fighting on Ideology ( Liberation of their country from Foreign Occupation ).

      October 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        It would have been over a long time ago... If Bush would have done what We are doing now in Afghanistan and Pakistan instead of starting the war in Iraq!!!

        October 7, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • HonLincoln

      Who is fooling who !!!!

      October 6, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |