The Taliban Open a Door to Peace. An Angry Karzai Shuts It
BY ARYN BAKER
Right after his re-election in 2009, Afghan President Hamid Karzai famously invited his "Taliban brothers" to the negotiation table. The Taliban called him an "American puppet" and RSVP'd their regrets with a spate of suicide attacks.
It looks like the tables have turned. On June 18, senior members of the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan before the U.S. invasion in 2001 opened an office in Doha, Qatar. The elaborate ceremony, complete with a ribbon cutting, prayers and the raising of the Taliban flag, was more a triumphant embassy opening than the launch of a negotiation venue, but the Taliban signaled a willingness to receive Afghan officials for preliminary talks on a political settlement.
Karzai wasn't buying any of it and suspended talks with the U.S. to underline his pique. He was furious that the Taliban were seeking international recognition and political legitimacy on par with a government in exile--not exactly the kind of peace partner Karzai had in mind when he first extended that invitation. In Germany, U.S. President Barack Obama noted the upset and the delicate choreography of transition: "We had anticipated at the outset that there were going to be some areas of friction, to put it mildly, in getting this thing off the ground."
It's still a good sign that the Taliban opened a shop to negotiate with the Karzai government. Perhaps the first discussions will concern what the sign on the door should read.
'You are left alone with your lies.'
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish Prime Minister, bashing foreign news outlets for a perceived plot to topple his government through their reporting on antigovernment demonstrations that have shaken Turkey for three weeks. In a two-hour speech to supporters gathered near the Sea of Marmara, Erdogan singled out CNN, BBC and Reuters, saying, "For days, you fabricated news." Countless media images of the widespread protests showed otherwise.
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According to a UNESCO study, 57 million children lack classroom access. Here are the countries with the most children out of school:
Three Takeaways From the G-8
Leaders from eight of the world's wealthiest nations ended a two-day summit in Northern Ireland--a land that negotiated a workable peace after decades of sectarian strife. Predictably, the G-8 members managed few breakthroughs, but here's a look at what the meeting did produce:
1. TAX SHELTERS
The group signed the Lough Erne Declaration, which aims to more forcibly expose the true owners of shadowy companies and combat tax evasion by sharing information. Critics say the language of the agreement doesn't go far enough to confront tax avoidance and that big corporations will continue to exploit loopholes.
2. AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT