Clinton rebukes Taliban on stopping talks: 'The choice is up to them'
March 22nd, 2012
01:00 AM ET

Clinton rebukes Taliban on stopping talks: 'The choice is up to them'

By Jill Dougherty

Washington (CNN) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday delivered a stern rebuke to the Taliban, who say they are stopping peace negotiations with the United States.

"What the Taliban do is up to them," Clinton said Wednesday at the State Department after a meeting with Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul. "We have been clear we are prepared to continue discussions, and our goal is to open the door so that Afghans can be negotiating among and between themselves."

"We are not stopping our efforts to support the security of Afghanistan while we try to see whether there is an opportunity for negotiations. So, really, at this point, the choice is up to them."

"Reconciliation," which also is supposed to include the Afghan government in what the U.S. calls an "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" process, "is going to be a very long-term process...there's nothing quick or easy about it," Clinton told reporters.

After her meeting with the Afghan foreign minister, Clinton joined a luncheon celebrating the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council, founded in 2002 by former U.S. President George W. Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

There was a special guest: the council's honorary adviser, former first lady Laura Bush, who has been a strong supporter of the council since the beginning and now serves as honorary adviser.

Seated at the head table, Clinton and Bush chatted animatedly but, in their remarks, both warned there is danger that the significant progress in supporting women's rights in Afghanistan since 2002 could be eroded.

"Any peace that is attempted to be made by excluding more than half the population is no peace at all. It is a figment that will not last," Clinton said, to strong applause.

Afghan women, she said, are "closely watching ... a potential reconciliation," she said. Many are worried that, at the end, whatever peace negotiations might occur, their rights might be rolled back. "We cannot and will not let that happen."

Both women highlighted progress: A decade ago life expectancy for women in Afghanistan was just 44 years; now it's 62. Almost no girls went to school; now 3 million do. Infant mortality rates have declined significantly. More Afghan children are living past their fifth birthday than at any time in Afghan history. Afghanistan is now home to more than 200 businesses owned by women, and women constitute 35 percent of the work force.

But, Bush warned: "While these signs of progress are encouraging, serious challenges remain. Women's involvement in Afghanistan's peace process has been limited. Recent statements made by the mullahs would severely limit women's ability to work outside the home. And there are some who still seek to silence women through intimidation and violence."

Both Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush say the most important task now for Afghan women is to protect the progress they have made and expand it. But Foreign Minister Rassoul, too, had a sober assessment: "Afghan women continue to suffer terrible violence," he said. "The gains are fragile."

A young Afghan woman agreed, telling the audience "We still have a long way to go."

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. breaking news

    Wow! This could be one particular of the most useful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Great. I'm also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your effort. breaking news http://cnn?84739

    February 7, 2013 at 10:07 am | Reply
  2. helenecha

    What a tough peace negotiation! I couldn't understand it as hard as I couldn't understand how Taliban regime nested al-Qaeda in this region before it was overthrown.

    March 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Reply
  3. rk

    all taliban are in terror camps set up by ISI in pakbegistan....until that is taken care of this war will never end...

    March 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  4. rightospeak

    Why are we still in Afganistan ? The Afgans do not want us there, they want their own country back just like we want our country back ,Mrs. Clinton, here in the U.S. You represent the 1% that want us in endless wars in spite of being bancrupt , in spite of getting our soldiers killed. So please start serving the American people for a change.

    March 22, 2012 at 9:28 am | Reply
  5. mipolitic

    the only thing about the obama foreign policy that has been hard at work is the clinton gang as for the boss back at the home office , they are only concerned with polling for re-election.

    the talks with all the bad guys on the world stage have failed including assad , north korea , taliban , pakistan , putin , iran , cuba .
    so the talks and foreign policy of the usa i think lacked the backbone of leadership from the top to confront bad guys with though resolve , the voice of obama on the world stage to me appears to be weak and not respected.

    March 22, 2012 at 6:28 am | Reply
    • markjuliansmith

      The problem from my perspective is that what an individual at this point wants to do or not do is set by a societal understanding driven directly by the political power of religions – there can be no challenge against a Religious entity informing power but secular is fair game.

      In other words where we have a secular foundation text informing evil against Other such as in Afhganistan you can take them out replace their institutions in anyway you think fit to rid yourself of the reason why wars start a dogma that determines you as less.

      With religions it is vastly different even if it is their text which is informing evil against Other and why you invaded in the first place. Nothing changes – terror continues externally and internally and women continue to be subjugated.

      The reason being religions have great political clout through their numerous adherents whatever their beliefs – and the Religious elite know with relative certainty once one religions dogma is determined as containing foundation text which is informing every new generation Other is less along with women and therefore are a clear and immediate threat to the state – the other religions text will inevitably be pointed out as being relatively the same.

      So as the political elites want to keep their jobs whatever the cost to the rest of humanity – Tranquility of Silence

      Obama makes no difference – what you believe does – otherwise they will never act.

      March 22, 2012 at 6:47 am | Reply
  6. markjuliansmith

    "Any peace that is attempted to be made by excluding more than half the population is no peace at all. It is a figment that will not last," Clinton said, to strong applause.

    "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" process, Clinton told reporters.

    Which means as the last is based on Islamic Foundation text regards the Satus of women the first can never be achieved.

    The 'strong applause' in reality is one hand clapping.feverishly.

    The Pathological Altruist Cultural Relativist US statecraft always meant it was a 'figment'.

    Change the foundation text or change nothing – the terror and subjugation of women continues.

    March 22, 2012 at 4:48 am | Reply
  7. markjuliansmith

    Clinton rebukes Taliban on stopping talks: 'The choice is up to them'

    You may as well rebuke a shark in the midst of its teeth deeply sunk into its victim.

    How utterly ridiculous this Pathological Altruist Cultural Relativist paradigm – Yet we are forced on pain of exclusion, socially even criminally in some countries to accept it as normative.

    Here we have a supposed 'intelligent' person bemoaning the fact an organisation, which demanded 'Freedom of the Press' simply to have its terror broadcast live. is not playing the Pathological Altruist Cultural Relativist game of having a meeting which is only made to give excuse to a failed policy – the evil dogma the US, again, went into to destroy is given center stage.

    Nothing has changed – though the Dorian Gray US statecraft is increasingly looking quite swampy due to the Band of Brothers sacrifice, again for no good reason.

    Either change the foundation text which caused you to go in in the first place or do not bother pretending at vast expense and loss of live on all sides.

    March 22, 2012 at 4:34 am | Reply

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