US envoy set to meet key security ministers in Afghanistan

US envoy is to meet the ministers of defence and interior and the head of the national intelligence agency.

US envoy set to meet key security ministers in Afghanistan

World Bulletin / News Desk

The new U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, is to meet key security ministers in the Afghan capital on Friday at the start of a three-day fact-finding mission, an Afghan official said.

Holbrooke, who arrived in Afghanistan from neighbouring Pakistan, has so far been tight-lipped during his first visit to the region which has been labelled a fact-finding mission, reported Reuters.

On his first day in Afghanistan, Holbrooke is to meet the ministers of defence and interior and the head of the national intelligence agency, before meeting President Hamid Karzai on Saturday, an Afghan official said.

Taliban insurgency is top on the agenda of Holbrooke. Taliban fights against US-led foreign troops across Afghanistan, challenging US occupation and Western-backed 'puppet' goevrnment.

Taliban Taliban fighters have been attacking trucks delivering goods in Kyber Pass in Pakistan to break the supply providing to "occupiers" in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has reached its worst levels since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban in 2001. The United Nations says some 5,000 people, including more than 2,000 civilians, were killed in fighting last year.

New supply route

U.S. and NATO seeks another routes instead of Khyber Pass where is the most important supply route for US and NATO troops.

Russia told its willing to provide new supply route for Western troops, regarding NATO relations.

Other central Asia states as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan also are close to deal with US for new supply routes.

More than 2,100 civilians in Afghanistan were killed last year, a 40 percent rise from the previous year, as a result of US invasion for seventh year, spreading to new areas, the United Nations top aid official said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has hinted at the possibility of talks with "elements" of the insurgency in an effort to draw the poison from a militancy that shows little sign of weakening.

Negotiation call

Ruslan Aushev, who commanded forces in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s and later became president of the Ingushetia region, said on Wednesday U.S needed to start talking to the Taliban if it was going to succeed in the invasion there.

"Today, the coalition have been there for eight years but what has the average Afghan got from it? Nothing. The rich have remained rich and the poor have remained poor," Aushev said.

Other Russian experts, which was debating Afghanistan's future with regional specialists in London, agreed that without some form of negotiation it would be impossible to avoid the Taliban insurgency.

U.S. ally Saudi Arabia last September hosted what were described as preliminary talks with former Taliban members about the possibility of more formal discussions, but the initiative petered out before a second round could be held.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush, who sent U.S. troops into Afghanistan in late 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks, always ruled out any form of negotiation with insurgents.

President Barack Obama has talked broadly about the need for dialogue with U.S. "enemies", such as Iran, but has said nothing about making contact with groups such as the Taliban, toppled ruling of Afghanistan.

The Taliban has also rejected the idea of any negotiations as long as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan.

Civilian causualties

Afghanistan has criticised civilians killings in raids of US-led foreign troops. 

The Taliban have regrouped and, despite the presence of nearly 70,000 international troops, in the last year increased both the scope and scale of their attacks against foreign and Afghan soldiers.

Air strikes which have killed hundreds of civilians have provoked anger among Afghans and resentment against the presence of foreign troops.

There are nearly 70,000 foreign troops under NATO and U.S. command attending the occupation, attacking Taliban.

The United States is expected to nearly double its force in Afghanistan from 36,000 to more than 60,000 within 18 months.

Holbrooke agenda

Complicating that task is the diplomatic conundrum of trying to ease the rivalry between Pakistan and India which helps fuel the conflict in Afghanistan, accommodate regional powers Iran and Russia, and maintain an alliance of more than 40 nations.

Holbrooke, famed for negotiating the 1995 Dayton accord that ended the war in Bosnia, has admitted Afghanistan is a "tougher challenge than Iraq".

Security was tight ahead of Holbrooke's visit after a triple suicide bombing and gun raids on government buildings that killed 26 people in Kabul on Wednesday.

Last Mod: 13 Şubat 2009, 13:29
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