Democracy Now: Afghan Gov’t Reviews Taliban, Pakistan Efforts
The Afghan government says it is re-thinking its ties with Pakistan, as well as negotiations with the Taliban, following a number of recent attacks. A former Afghan president was killed last week during talks with the Taliban while a number of people were killed in a Kabul attack tied to the Pakistan-based Haqqani group. The Wall Street Journal reports the Afghan government has decided to suspend a three-way effort with Pakistan and the United States to hold talks with the Taliban. In other Afghan news, the U.S.-led NATO occupation force has sparred with U.N. officials over figures showing a surge in recent violence. On Thursday, the United States disputed a U.N. report that violence has increased 40 percent over the last year. At the United Nations, the U.N. Special Envoy to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, said that while military incidents may have declined, civilian casualties are on the rise.
Staffan de Mistura: “There is no question from a number point of view that there has been a substantial reduction of military incidents so we are not questioning those figures, and we are talking about different figures. Now if you are asking instead whether there has been a decrease or increase in civilian casualties, we will then have to say, and everybody agrees, there has been a substantial unfortunate increase.”