Showing posts with label peace-talks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peace-talks. Show all posts

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Is Peace in the Air for Afghanistan?

In the past few months there have been several initiatives for peace in Afghanistan. First there was the 'Taliban letter' to the American people. President Ghani then followed up with his peace initiative during the Kabul Process. In mid-March U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis flew to Kabul for discussions on the overall security situation and current prospects for peace negotiations. Read some recent articles on this topic.

March 16, 2018. "A peace deal with the Taliban would be pure folly", by Sandeep Gopalan, The Hill.

March 14, 2018. "The Folly of Peace Without Victory in Afghanistan", Conservation HQ.

March 13, 2018. "Mattis in Kabul: We look toward a victory in Afghanistan - not a military victory", by AP, The SECDEF is thinking a victory in Afghanistan is possible by facilitating a Taliban reconciliation with the government. He believes that the Afghan government may be able to 'peel off' those fighters who are tired of the long war.

March 13, 2018. "U.S. detecting Taliban interest in Afghan peace talks", Reuters.

March 11, 2018. "The Afghan Taliban's Deceptive Peace Initiative", by Marvin G. Weinbaum and Samad Sadri, The National Interest. The author's believe that cautiousness if not cynicism is in order.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Peace Package Offered to Taliban

President Ghani proposed a detailed peace package to the Taliban during the Kabul Process meeting. His offer follows the Taliban's call to the United States to reopen a peace dialogue working through the Taliban's Qatar office. The Afghan president's proposal is broad and sweeping. He offers shelter, security, and the release of Taliban prisoners. But more important is the offer to recognize the Taliban as a political party, and amendment of the Afghan constitution, and talks without preconditions.

Abdul Rahman Rahmani, a guest contributor to this blog, provides his perspective on President Ghani's peace initiative. He offers some suggestions for the implementation and some steps to be taken in the future. Read his article entitled Peace Package Offered to Taliban; What Next?, posted on Afghan War News, March 3, 2018.

Abdul Rahman Rahmani has a bachelor of sociology and philosophy from Kabul University, is an Afghan Army aviation pilot, and author of the book Afghanistan: A Collection of Stories. He currently is a student at the Expeditionary Warfare School, Marine Corps University in Quantico, Virginia.

Kabul Process

Peace Is In The Air. A few weeks back the Taliban addressed a letter to the people of the United States to open up peace talks. This past week President Ghani presided over the Kabul Process held in Kabul. The event, attended by over 25 countries and various international organizations, was an attempt to discover ways to resolve the Afghan conflict. In his 30-minute long opening remarks Ghani offered to negotiate with the Taliban "without preconditions". Links to various news reports, analysis, and commentary about the Kabul Process are provided below:

Taliban Calls for Peace Talks. The insurgent group is urging the United States to begin talks to end the war in Afghanistan. The group says it wants a peaceful resolution. Evidently it is seeking direct Taliban to U.S. talks; bypassing the government of Afghanistan. Read "Afghan Taliban renew call for dialogue with U.S. to end war"Reuters, February 26, 2018.

"Afghanistan's Ghani Offers Talks with Taliban 'without preconditions'", Reuters, February 28, 2018. Ghani offered recognition of the Taliban as a political group as part of a proposed political process that would lead to talks to end the 16 years of war. His comments are regarded as a significant shift for the Afghan president.

"Afghan government offers genuine, lasting peace mechanism", Pajhwok News, February 28, 2018. The government suggested seven different building blocks for peace-making.

"Ghani Offers Unconditional Talks, Legitimacy to Afghan Taliban", Voice of America, February 28, 2018. "The peace process will be held in three stages of negotiations, approval, and implementation".

"An Open Letter to the Taliban". Several weeks back the Taliban leadership sent an 'open letter' to the people of the United States expressing their desire for peace talks to resume. This, at the same time that the insurgents are conducting large-scale suicide bombings in Kabul and other large cities in Afghanistan. Barnett Rubin, an American and scholar on Afghanistan, has responded with "An Open Letter to the Taliban". (The New Yorker, February 27, 2018).

The Way to Peace. Barnett R. Rubin of the Center on International Cooperation (and Afghan 'expert') thinks the way to peace in  Afghanistan is through infrastructure investment and connecting to the Chinese and Indian mega-economies. See "Theses on Peacemaking in Afghanistan: A Manifesto"War on the Rocks, February 23, 2018.

"Scant Success of Past Efforts". Carmen Gentile, book author and war correspondent, provides his take on the latest rounds of peace talk initiatives by the Afghan government and the Taliban in "Is Peace Possible in Afghanistan?", Atlantic Council, February 28, 2018.

"A Diplomatic Perspective". Richard Olson - a former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan and 'expert' on Afghanistan, provides his thoughts on the prospects for peace in "Ending the War in Afghanistan: a Diplomatic Perspective", Center for Strategic & International Studies, February 28, 2018.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Peace with Honor? Lawrence Freedman, a professor of war studies at King's College London, provides his perspective of victory and defeat in Afghanistan. He believes that America's ". . . definition of peace needs to be defined down." Read "Can There Be Peace With Honor in Afghanistan?", Foreign Policy, June 26, 2017.

Importance of Educating Afghanistan's Youth. Rahmatullah Arman writes that widespread illiteracy undercuts security and development in "Educating Afghanistan's Youth Is the Only True Solution to Terrorism", Defense One, June 27, 2017.

9 Priorities for Peace. A recently held workshop brought together 23 experts from the Afghan government, media, and other organizations to explore the challenges, priorities, and opportunities for building peace in Afghanistan. Read the report entitled "Nine Priorities for Peace in Afghanistan", Conciliation Resources, June 2017.

Afghan Conflict Options - Losing or Not Losing. James Dobbins, a former Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, comments on the options for the new administration in "Trump's Options for Afghanistan: Losing or Not Losing", RAND Corporation, June 23, 2017.

U.S. Military Can't Fix Mess Alone. James Cunningham, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Israel, and the United Nations - and currently a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council - weighs in on the Afghan problem. "There is no guarantee that America can 'win' in Afghanistan, but it is quite clear that it can lose". read "I Was U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. The Military Can't Fix This Mess Alone", The National Interest, June 29, 2017.

Avoiding Perpetual War in Afghanistan. Daniel L. Davis, a retired U.S. Army officer, provides his thoughts on how to avoid 'the long stay' in Afghanistan in "A New Afghanistan Strategy Must Avoid Perpetual War", The National Interest, June 28, 2017.

Haidari on Peace in Afghanistan. The Director-General of Policy & Strategy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan has wrote an opinion peace outlining  the path to peace in Afghanistan. He enumerates four key points to achieve Afghan stability. Read "For Peace in Afghanistan, Listen to Afghans", The Diplomat, June 28, 2017.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation

The government of Afghanistan convened the first meeting of the "Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation" on June 6, 2017 in Kabul. Representatives of regional nations as well as the international community were invited to attend. President Ghani outlined Afghanistan's new vision and strategy for peace - in an attempt to gain regional and international support. It is hoped that the "Kabul Process" will provide an overarching process that will serve as an umbrella for the various peace and reconciliation forums of the past, present, and future. It is also anticipated that the "Kabul Process" will position the Afghan government as the key driving force for achieving peace - with support from regional powers and other international partners and actors. More information and resources about the Kabul Process can be found below:

Kabul Process - Peace and Security Cooperation by Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Kabul Peace Process: A Time for Solidarity, by Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, June 6, 2017.

"Afghanistan's 'Kabul Process' Kicks Off Amid Regional Shifts", by Aveek Sen, The Diplomat, June 9, 2017.

Renewed Calls for Afghan Peace Talks

Renewed Calls for Peace Talks. Recent territorial gains by the Taliban have caused many observers to conclude that there will not be a military victory against the insurgents. By some estimates the Taliban now control over 40% of the countryside - mostly rural areas. High profile attacks such as the recent bombing at the gates of the 'Green Zone' causing the death of over 150 people and the killing of over 130 Afghan National Army soldiers at Camp Shaheen in northern Afghanistan cast doubt on the ANDSF's ability to provide security to Afghanistan. The continued use of sanctuaries in Pakistan by insurgents, incompetent and ineffective senior leadership of the Afghan police and Army, and rampant corruption at all levels of government leads many commentators to believe that the security situation will not change for the better. There are now renewed calls and pressure for the Afghan government to engage in negotiations with the Taliban and other insurgent groups to end the conflict.

New Leader for High Peace Council. President Ghani has appointed Karim Khalili as the new head fo the Afghanistan High Peace Council. Khalili is a former vice-president. The question remains whether Ghani will give the HPC a real role of if this is just another symbolic appointment.

June 4,2017, "German Foreign Minister Gabriel calls for peace talks with Taliban", Deutsche Welle.

June 6, 2017. "Mattis: Taliban Can't Be Part of a Political Solution in Afghanistan", The Weekly Standard. The statements of SECDEF Jim Mattis are interesting. Is this a break from previous U.S. positions that a negotiated peace is the only way to end the conflict? Hmmmm.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Peace with HIG?

A peace deal was signed between the Afghan government and the Hezb-e Islami (led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar). The HIG has been relatively dormant the last few years. The Taliban have come out against the peace deal that the insurgent group HIG and Afghan government recently signed. According to some reports the agreement was signed via conference over the Internet using Skype! The U.S. was not a party to the agreement; which was negotiated by the Afghan High Peace Council.

The exiled leader of HIG has been granted amnesty for past offenses (he is referred to as "The Butcher of Kabul"). Of course, the United Nations is listing members of HIG to include its leader as terrorists; so the Afghan government could conceivably ask for the HIG names to be removed. One wonders if Hekmatyar will be running in the next presidential election? Expectations need to be managed because the peace agreement with HIG will hardly affect the level of violence within the country or of war on the battlefield. HIG is not the military power it once was.

Read more about the peace agreement with HIG:
"Peace With Hekmatyar: What does it mean for battlefield and politics?", by Borhan Osman, Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), September 29, 2016.
"Taliban Lambast Afghan Peace Deal"Gandhara Blog, September 26, 2016.
"Critics Protest Afghan Peace Deal with Black Facebook Profiles", Radio Free Europe, Sep 29, 2016.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Peace Accord With HIG? A Deal with the Devil?

It appears that the Government of Afghanistan and the Hizb-e Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) insurgent group have reached an agreement to stop fighting. The insurgent group was formed by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in the mid-1970s. It became one of the main mujahideen factions during the fight against the Soviets and puppet Afghan regime in the 1980s and a main player during the civil war after the Soviet withdrawal. The group has been accused of numerous human rights abuses by many international groups. In recent years the militant group has been relatively ineffective and relegated to the sidelines. This peace agreement with the "Butcher of Kabul" may more symbolic in nature with an unlikely effect on the level of hostilities. The peace agreement with the HIG will (in the view of the U.S.) hopefully set the stage for successful peace talks (and agreements) with other insurgent groups fighting the Afghan government.

Read more:
"Afghanistan Signs Peace Deal With Hard Line Militant Group", Radio Free Europe, Sep 22, 2016.
U.S. Embassy Peace Accords Statement, Embassy of the United States, Kabul, Afghanistan, September 22, 2016.
Draft Peace Agreement Between Government and Herb-I-Islami Gulbuddin, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), September 22, 2016.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Peace Talks

Taliban Reluctant to Join Peace Talks. Despite lots of optimism by the U.S. State Department (publicly at least) and the Afghan government it appears that the Taliban are not all the eager to join in on peace talks. Read more in "Road to Quadrilateral-Backed Peace Talks Uncertain as Taliban Refuse to Participate", The Diplomat, March 7, 2016.

Accusations of Interference. Former Minister of Interior (MoI) Daudzai slams Pakistan for its interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and its sabotage of the Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations in recent news report. (Tolo News, Mar 12, 2016).

Podcast - History of Peace Talks. Task & Purpose Radio have aired an episode that discusses Beau Bergdahl's role in negotiating peace talks with the Taliban in "The Complex History of the Taliban Peace Talks", March 8, 2016.

Peace Talks Failure - Plan B? Michael Kugelman presents the obstacles to concrete progress in the Afghan / Taliban peace talks that are (or are not) about to take place over the next several months. He asks "If Reconciliation Fails in Afghanistan, What's Plan B?", War on the Rocks, March 10, 2016. (CAUTION: He offers no Plan B . . .  ).

Bloody Summer? The rejection of peace talks by the Taliban has dire implications for the coming fighting season. Read more in "Afghanistan braces for bloody summer as Taliban reject peace talks with government", Washington Times, March 7, 2016.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Peace Talks

HPC Chief Appointed. News reports say that Sayed Ahmad Gailani has been appointed as the new Chief of the Afghan High Peace Council. Deputies have been appointed as well and include: former Afghan VP Karim Khalili, Habiba Sarabi, Mawlavi Khabir, and others.

Afghan Embassy Statement. A press release has been distributed by the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. entitled "Statement on Participation of Taliban Groups in Upcoming Peace Talks", February 24, 2016.

Taliban Unaware of Peace Talks Plans. It seems that the Taliban's office in Qatar will not be joining the peace talks soon. A spokesman says that all foreign troops must leave Afghanistan first before it will join in peace talks with the Afghanistan government. There are other pre-conditions as well. Looks like the fighting goes on. (Radio Free Europe, Feb 24, 206).

Peace Push Criticized. Not everyone is happy with the big move forward to conduct peace talks with the Taliban. Read about Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum view on all of this in "Key Afghan Warlord Criticizes Kabul's Peace Push", Voice of America, February 24, 2016.

Can Talks Succeed? Some think the talks will actually take place (b/t Taliban & govt). Hmmm. We shall see. But just because they do talk; does that mean anything will get accomplished? I don't think so. Ahmed Rashid provides us his thoughts on the topic in "Afghanistan Taliban: Can talks succeed?", BBC News, February 27, 2016.

AAN Analysis. Tomas Ruttig of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) provides an update to the peace process in In Search of a Peace Process: A 'new' HPC and an ultimatum for the Taleban, February 26, 2016.

Time Not Right for Talks? Some Afghans believe the time is not right for peace talks with the Taliban - thinking that the negotiations could lead to unfavorable compromises with an enemy that remains far from beaten on the battlefield. Read more in "Some think time not right for talks with Taliban", Stars and Stripes, February 21, 2016.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Peace Talks

High Peace Council Leadership. President Ghani has decided to appoint new leaders for the High Peace Council (HPC). He indicated that women and former mujahideen fighters would have representation on the HPC. The High Peace Council has had varying degrees of influence and power over the past decade depending on the politic circumstances and the reigning President (Karzai or Ghani). The situation with the National Unity Government or NUG has also put obstacles in the path of the peace process. (Pajhwok News Service, Feb 15, 2016)

Price of Peace. Talks with the Taliban should not come at the expense of the hard-earned progress on human rights. Read Maisam Wahidi's thoughts in "Afghanistan: The Price of Peace with the Taliban", The Diplomat, February 19, 2016.

Peace Talks to Gain Steam? A recent news report says that there is a good chance Afghan government officials and Taliban representatives may engage in direct talks with each other by the end of February 2016. Read more in "Afghan Official Expects Peace Talks Soon", Voice of America, February 15, 2016.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Peace Talks

Intel Chief Not Thinking Peace. "The latest U.S. intelligence assessment is skeptical about prospects for political reconciliation in war-torn Afghanistan and has warned it is at serious risk of political breakdown during 2016." Read more in "US Intel Chief Skeptical About Afghan Reconciliation", Voice of America, February 10, 2016.

Peace . . . So Far Away. Chayanika Saxena writes about the prospects of peace and the fact that it seems to be unobtainable due to the stance of some of the members of the National Unity Government (NUG) and various Taliban factions. Read more in "Despite parleys, peace for ordinary Afghans seems so far away", South Asia Monitor, February 5, 2016.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

More Peace Talks Held

The third meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States was held on Saturday, February 6th in Islamabad, Pakistan. According to joint press releases by the participating governments progress was built on the last two meetings with the group exploring ways for holding early direct talks between the authorized representatives of the Afghan government and Taliban groups.The next meeting of the QCG will be held in Kabul on 23 February 2016. Read press release by the Embassy of the United States in Islamabad, Pakistan dated February 6, 2016. The ultimate goal is to get the Taliban talking with the Afghan government but there is no indication that the Taliban want to participate - especially in light of the gains it has made in the past year since the U.S. and other coalition nations have withdrawn combat troops, advisors, and enablers (air support, MEDEVAC, intelligence, logistics, etc.).

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Peace Talks

Afghan High Peace Council. The organization set up by the Afghan government to coordinate the reconciliation and reintegration of the Taliban leadership and fighter ranks has come under criticism. The High Peace Council has been in existence for several years but its progress in its mission has been slow or non-existent according to some critics. Read "Afghanistan's High Peace Council: Five Years On", Institute for War & Peace Reporting, January 2016.

Opening Speech by Rabbani. Rabbani opened up the Kabul peace talk meetings held on Monday, January 18, 2016 with a nine-minute long speech urging the Taliban to join the peace process.

Red Lines. The Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salahuddin Rabbani, stated that that the Afghan government would not support an open-ended process without some tangible results. See "Afghanistan Wants 'Red Lines' in Peace Process", Voice of America, January 18, 2016. Rabbani also stated that all Taleban factions should join the peace talks. (Radio Free Europe, Jan 18, 2016).

5 Myths on Peace Talks. Christopher Kolenda writes about "Five Myths to Dispel on An Afghan Peace", Gandhara Blog, January 21, 2016.

Unofficial Talks in Qatar? Some news reports indicate that a possible two-day meeting between the Taliban and Afghan officials could take place in the gulf state of Qatar. Read "Afghan, Taliban Envoys Expected to Meet in Qatar", Voice of America, January 22, 2016.

Next Scheduled Talks. So the talking will go on. The next meeting will be on February 6, 2016 in Islamabad to finalize peace talks road map and mechanisms. The ultimate goal of these current talks are to get the representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban into direct negotiations. At the moment, it would appear the Taliban will likely not enter the talks - as they have the Afghan security forces on the defense and they are fighting through the winter season (usually a break in the fighting).

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Talking about Peace Talks

On Monday, January 11th, the countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States and China gathered to discuss negotiations for future peace talks with the Taliban. These talks and a second round of talks to be held in Kabul on January 18th will lay the groundwork for future talks with the Taliban. Pakistan offered up a list of Taliban leaders who they say are willing to take part in peace negotiations. Any progress made will depend on Pakistan - as they support the Afghan Taliban and provide the group with sanctuaries from which to train, rest, refit, and plan operations. It is unknown what real progress has been made but the world is hopeful. One important person not attending the current round of peace talks is Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the current leader of the Afghan Taliban. (See article on Mansour by The Washington Post, Jan 10, 2016). The Embassy of Afghanistan (in D.C.) issued a joint press release about the outcome of the peace talks held in Islamabad on January 11th, 2016.

Key to Successful Peace Talks. The road to resolving the Afghan conflict through negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government lies with Pakistan's intentions. Is Pakistan sincere in wanting to bring stability and security to Afghanistan or are they more concerned with 'strategic depth' in Afghanistan and countering India's influence in the region. Read "The Key to Successful Afghan Peace Talks", SOFREP, January 14, 2016.

Involve Women in Peace Process. The Human Rights Watch organization wants the four countries engaged in talks to advance peace negotiations between the Taliban and Afghanistan to include women in the peace process. Read more in "Afghanistan: Set Out Concrete Plan to Involve Women"Human Rights Watch, January 12, 2016.

Differences an Obstacle to Talks. Officials from Pakistan and Afghanistan are publicly airing their differences even amidst the latest round of peace talks.(Voice of America, Jan 11, 2016).

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Peace Talks

January 11th Peace Talks. Multi-state peace talks including the nations of China, U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan are scheduled for January 11th. A second round of talks, not yet scheduled, will be held in Kabul. The participation of China and the United States is consider key by many observers - with hopes that the two nations can keep the talks on track. The representatives of the four nations will meet in Islamabad, Pakistan to revive peace negotiations that stalled in July after the disclosure of the death of the Afghan Taliban leader - Mullah Omar.

Iran & Peace Talks. It is being reported that Iran officials want to have full presence and direct participation in the Afghanistan peace talks process. There is no indication that the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China are having any of that.

Pakistan's Role? Lisa Curtis, a senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center, examines Pakistan's role in the never-ending quest to get peace talks established between the Afghan government and the Taliban. She paints a disquieting picture. Afghanistan After America's War, December 2016.

Winter Surge - Taliban Seeking Upper Hand? One commentator believes that the unprecedented winter surge of 2015-2016 by the Taliban points to a desire for an upper hand in peace talks. Read "Afghan Taliban seek leverage in dangerous winter surge", The Times of India, January 6, 2016.

Include Women in Peace Talks? The Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization has come out strongly endorsing the participation of women in the upcoming peace talks scheduled for January 11th. Afghan women and international observers are fearful that the government (and international players) will trade away women's rights as a concession to the Taliban. Read more in "Afghanistan: Include Women in New Peace Talks", Human Rights Watch, January 4, 2016.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Peace Talks

Another effort to revive the peaces talks for the Afghan conflict is now underway. President Ghani (Afghanistan) and Prime Minister Sharif (Pakistan) met during this past week while attending the climate conference in Paris. Certainly one topic discussed by the two national leaders during there one-on-one conversation was restarting peace talks. (Tolo News, Nov 30, 2015).

Pakistan has been playing both sides for quite a while now; supporting the Taliban yet feigning cooperation with the U.S. and Afghanistan . . . and this is known by the Afghan government as well as the U.S. military and intelligence services. The Pakistanis have a lot of influence over the Taliban - some say enough to force them to come to the peace table; but the long-term objective of Pakistan is to keep Afghanistan an unstable environment mired in conflict. This ensures that a second strategic front (think about a war with India) does not come into being. So the chances of peace talks actually getting anything done? Not so much.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Peace Talks

Susan Rice & Pakistan. U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice met with Pakistani leaders during a visit to the country a few weeks back to discuss efforts to revive peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The talks have been suspended since the news of the death of Mullah Omar broke. She also urged Pakistan to intensify its efforts to counter terrorist sanctuaries inside its border. Hmmmm. I wonder if she also added "Stop supporting the Taliban!". Likely not. Diplomats seem to be diplomatic when they should pound someone over the head with a hammer. Read more in "U.S. envoy discusses Afghan peace efforts on Pakistan visit", Military Times, August 30, 2015. Read also "US Wants Pakistan to Help Reduce Violence in Afghanistan", Voice of America, August 30, 2015.

Peace a Distant Dream. The future of Afghanistan is one without peace - the Taliban are unlikely to topple the Afghan government yet there is no sign of them abandoning the fight. The Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) have proven incapable of defeating the Taliban. So peace is a long way away. For many of the Afghans escaping the violence means attempting to reach Europe to start a new life. Read "Peace remains a distant dream in Afghanistan", BBC News, September 4, 2015.

Lack of Mutual Trust? There appears to be a lack of mutual trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is certainly a stumbling block in the resumption of peace talks. Read more in "No Sign When Afghan-Taliban Peace Talks Might Resume", Voice of America, September 7, 2015.

International Support Needed for Peace. M. Ashraf Haidari writes on prospects for peace for Afghanistan in "Elusive Peace in Post 9/11 Afghanistan", Foreign Policy, September 11, 2015.

Resuming Peace Talks? Afghanistan and Pakistan are talking about it. Pakistani officials are asking Afghan officials to resume peace talks with the Taliban. It has been a few months since the previous peace talks got suspended in the wake of the Mullah Omar death reports. Read more in "Pakistan, Afghanistan Weigh Resumption of Taliban Talks", Voice of America, September 3, 2015.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Peace Talks

At one point in late July it seemed that some concrete steps towards peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban were being taken. Most insurgencies are solved through a political process - few are won militarily (and we know that the ANDSF are far from being able to accomplish that). With that in mind there are some optimists out there who are looking at the glass half full with hopes that peace talks can generate some momentum and end the constant warfare that Afghanistan has seen for so many decades. However, the news that Mullah Omar (the leader of the Taliban) has been dead for two years have thrown the Taliban leadership in disarray and put the peace talks on hold. In addition, it seems the new leader of the Taliban has walked away from negotiations. The recent spate of bombing attacks in Kabul have increased tensions between Pakistan (who supports the Taliban) and Afghanistan. So . . . the peace talks appear to be on hold. Carter Malkasian, a former advisor to the ISAF commander, provides us his thoughts on the future of peace talks in "Is Peace Possible in Afghanistan?", Foreign Affairs, August 18, 2015.

Peace Talks in Doubt? Bruce Riedel did 30 years service at the Central Intelligence Agency including postings in the Middle East. He was a senior advisor on South Asia to the last four administrations. Currently he is with the Brookings Institute. Read his article about the diminished hopes for peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in "The Taliban Affirm their alliance with al-Qaida: Afghan peace talks in doubt",, August 20, 2015.