Sunday, October 2, 2016

Ambassador Olson (AfPak) Presents Narrative

On Thursday, September 29th, Ambassador Richard Olson (Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan) presented his views about Afghanistan's security, future, government, and the upcoming Brussels Conference at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Some points the ambassador made are provided below.

Security. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are improving over time. The Taliban have not been able to take and hold a significant population center and have not achieved their strategic goals during 2016.

National Unity Government (NUG). Ambassador Olson says the National Unity Government is not perfect but it is the best way forward at this time. Both the Afghan President and Afghan CEO remain committed to conducting elections in the future. The United States will continue to stand behind and support the Afghan government. The U.S. is encouraging the Afghan government to institute governmental reforms, hold elections, and conduct a constitutional Loya Jirga.

Brussels Conference. The Afghan agenda will guide the international agenda at the Brussels Conference for the future of Afghanistan's security and development. The Resolute Support mission was extended by NATO in July at the Warsaw Summit. The Brussels Conference will provide a guide to the future development needs of Afghanistan. The antecendent for Brussels was the Tokyo Conference four years ago. Olson said international support is conditional and conditioned; not a blank check.

Afghan Interpreters. He waffles here. Says all the right things but . . . offers little concrete suggestions on how to improve the situation for more SIV for the Afghans who put their lives at risk for the U.S. military.

Lots of other topics were discussed during the question and answer session about India, NUG, peace deal with HIG, Pakistan, conditionality of continued funding by donor nations, economy, anti-corruption, refugees, and more. An informative presentation and Q&A on lots of topics; but beware of the party line when he talks about security, corruption, and progress in Afghanistan.

You can view the conference at the link below:

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