More than 7 million Afghans voted to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai yesterday, braving attacks that killed at least 46 as the war-torn country strives to complete its first democratic transfer of power since the U.S. ousted the Taliban in 2001.
Afghan election officials began counting votes from a presidential runoff two days ago as the world waits to see whether it can complete its first peaceful transfer of power since the U.S. invasion in 2001.
By Karen DeYoung, Peter Finn and Craig Whitlock Oct. 5 (Washington Post) -- Taliban representatives and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai have begun secret, high-level talks over a negotiated end to the war, according to Afghan and Arab sources. The talks follow inconclusive meetings, hosted by Saudi Arabia, that ended more than a year ago. While emphasizing the preliminary nature of the current discussions, the sources said that for the first time they believe that Taliban representatives are fully authorized to speak for the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban organization based in Pakistan, and its leader, Mohammad Omar. "They are very, very serious about finding a way out," one source close to the talks said of the Taliban. Although Omar's representatives have long publicly insisted that negotiations were impossible until all foreign troops withdraw, a position seemingly buoyed by the Taliban's resilience
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif heads to Afghanistan tomorrow to discuss security issues with President Hamid Karzai, whose reluctance to sign a pact to retain U.S. troops beyond 2014 has stoked concern in the region.
Pakistan said today it would release the Afghan Taliban’s top military commander in a move that Afghanistan has said would encourage insurgents to join peace talks before the U.S. reduces troops next year.