Afghanistan: Tensions rise as peace negotiations begin

Senior officials from the Pakistani army and Afghan government will be holding open peace talks with the Taliban, marking the first joint effort towards a diplomatic by the two countries simultaneously. Ashraf Ghani’s government is under fire by the new Parliament for negotiating with Pakistan to the degree it has – even former President Hamid Karzai has chimed in condemning the joint efforts. Other countries have reacted positively, including China, who has offered to broker the talks as a “neutral” third party.

Afghan lawmakers say that most who are not members of Ghani’s inner circle are suspicious of Pakistan’s role in the Taliban peace talks. Under Karzai, Afghanistan long accused Pakistan of using the Taliban to push its own agenda. Ghani’s outreach to Islamabad has caused concern among those who still point to Pakistan and the ISI as the source of the Taliban’s support and funding.

Follow us on Twitter: @SteppeDispatch

News Briefs:

  • Germany’s ambassador to the US Peter Wittig has revealed that US President Barack Obama pledged last month not to send lethal aid to Ukraine, citing a high level discussion between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Obama to “give some space for those diplomatic and political efforts that were underway.” This revelation is likely to anger many in the legislative branch who have lobbied hard for shoring up equipment and support to Kiev’s military.
  • In Mongolia, negotiations on the largest coking coal deposit in the world at Tavan Tolgoi have stalled due to the ongoing dispute between Rio Tinto and the government on a copper mining project. Last year, China’s Shenhua Energy formed a consortium with Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation to bid for the Tavan Tolgoi contract and won out over the American Peabody Energy. It is unclear from what issues the disagreements stem, most have merely noted that the negotiations with Shenhua were due to completed before Mongolia’s lunar new year in February. Observers are noting the substantial debts of the Mongolian company in charge of the project to China’s Chalco Group, which could be the source of a short and long term financing issue.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s