Showing posts with label reconciliation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reconciliation. Show all posts

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Afghanistan - The Road to Peace

Tamim Asey, a fellow at the Asia Society, has penned an article presenting us with his thoughts on the way forward for peace in Afghanistan. He says the newly elected leaders of Afghanistan have an opportunity to "reset and reinvigorate the Afghan peace process" in a more organized and systematic way. He also identifies some issues to be considered - such as "Who are the Taliban?", the need for a clear roadmap, formation of a government commission with a clear mandate, the role of Pakistan, decrease funding from Gulf states, the role of China, Iran's support of insurgents, and other important issues. Read more in "Afghanistan's Complex Peace Calculus", The Diplomat, November 10, 2014.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Peace Talks with Taliban

A writer provides his opinion on holding peace talks with the Taliban. Jack Fairweather seems to think that holding talks with the Taliban and letting them rule parts of the rural south would be a good thing. Learn more in "Give the Taliban a Chance", New York Times Opinion Pages, November 11, 2014.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

IWPR Project Helps Afghans Work Towards Peace

The Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) has launched a program of events and training courses to inform young people about what they can do to promote peace-building and reconciliation in Afghanistan. The IWPR project, started in September 2014, is called Afghan Reconciliation: Promoting Peace and Building Trust by Engaging Civil Society. The project involves setting up citizen groups across the country to drive peace initiatives and work with the local branches of the High Peace Council. The High Peace Council is the Afghan governmental body tasked with negotiating with the Taliban. Read more in "Helping Afghans Work Towards Peace", Institute for War & Peace Reporting, October 21, 2014.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ghani Calls on Taliban to Join Peace Process

President Ghani wants the Taliban to join in on the peace process. He said at a recent press conference that peace is our highest priority. Read more in "Afghan President Calls on Taliban to Join Peace Process", Radio Free Europe, October 31, 2014.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Reconciliation with the Taliban?

A columnist assesses the Afghan Unity Government (NUG) and thinks that Afghanistan may be ready for a serious effort to reconcile with the Taliban. He explores the many different aspects that need to be considered for negotiations with the Taliban. Most likely the biggest issue to face is Pakistan's support of the Taliban; presumably Pakistan uses the Taliban as leverage to influence Afghanistan ". . . over bilateral issues like India's presence in Afghanistan, Kabul's longstanding refusal to recognize the border, and the apparent use of Afghan territory as sanctuary by some Pakistani Taliban".The author, Barnett R. Rubin, was senior advisor to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Department of State during 2009 to 2013. Read his article in "  Is the Afghan Unity Government a Roadmap for Negotiations with the Taliban?", The South Asia Channel, Foreign Policy, October 20, 2014.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Prisoner Releases Questioned by Afghan Military

There is tension among the Afghan leadership in government, the ministries, the police, and the army on the issue of prisoners. This tension exists because (either through incompetence, corruption, or political objectives) Taliban prisoners are being released. Many of these released prisoners are resuming the fight on the battlefield against the army and police forces that had already captured them once - sometimes at great cost.

President Karzai has released many of the Taliban prisoners - presumably as an attempt to help the reconciliation process with the Taliban insurgents. There is no indication that these prisoner releases over the past few years have had any effect in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table or in winning any concessions. In fact, members of the High Peace Council - the Afghan organization charged with reconciliation and reintegration - have been targeted repeatedly by the insurgents.

The Afghan judicial system is under-resourced, inadequately staffed, lacking sufficient training, subject to coercion by the insurgents, easily influenced by warlords and power-brokers, and extremely corrupt. The U.S. (and ISAF) efforts to introduce warrant-based targeting and Evidence-Based Operations (EvBO) have had mixed results. Establishing Rule of Law (RoL) within a counterinsurgency environment is essential. The introduction of EvBO is an admirable goal; but it seems that the Afghan police force (lack of training, forensics equipment, and inexperience) is not up to the task and the judicial system is inept and corrupt. Perhaps the introduction of EvBO was a step too far too early in this very corrupt Afghan society.

Read more about this prisoner release issue in "Afghans question prisoner releases amid violent fighting season", Stars and Stripes, September 12, 2014 here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Karzai Insists U.S. Talk Peace With Taliban

President Karzai never seems to stop surprising us.We should be used to it by now. Karzai now says that the U.S. must start peace talks with the Taliban first before he will sign the Bilateral Security Agreement. Karzai said that not including the Taliban as part of the Afghan government will ensure that it will be weak in the future.(Not sure it can get any worse than it is now). I would think by now that we know we won't get Karzai to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement. Any deadlines that we established has come and gone. Now our State Department is saying it needs to be signed "in weeks not months". I guess that means it needs to be signed in 16 weeks - after the Afghan presidential election held in April. Or maybe in 26 weeks after the run-off for the Presidential election. Hmmmmm. Read more in "Hamid Karzai toughens stance on Afghanistan security deal with US", The Guardian, January 25, 2014.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Afghan Govt Stance on Peace Talks

There is a lot of discussion about what the Afghans want to accomplish in the stalled peace talks with the Taliban. This is difficult to ascertain based on conflicting statements and actions by Afghan government officials. One key document does shed light on the Afghan government approach. It is the "Peace Process Roadmap to 2015" released by the High Peace Council in November 2012. The document starts with a vision of what the political environment looks like in 2015, outlines a five-step approach to the peace talks to reach that vision, and provides some principles that need to be followed during the conduct of the peace talks. The insurgency will not be beaten by ISAF prior to its departure in December 2014. There is little hope that the Afghans security forces will be able to beat the Taliban in some of their strongholds in parts of the east and south (Kunar, Nuristan, Helmand, and Nangarhar). So the peace talks with the Taliban are key to resolving the conflict.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Peace Talks with Taliban Still Stalled

There is a renewed effort to engage the Taliban in peace talks. The withdrawal of Western nations from the fight over the next two years and the acknowledgment that the insurgency will not be defeated by the Afghan security forces has worried many who are concerned about regional stability in the area. Thus the push for reaching an agreement with the Taliban through a reconciliation process.

The biggest hindrance to an agreement with the Taliban is . . . of course, the Taliban. They are and can afford to play a waiting game. In December 2014 the United States will have between zero to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan. That is not a lot of combat power. Foreign aid to the government of Afghanistan will shrink. The oversight on what aid does go to Afghanistan will be administered by corrupt Afghan government officials. At the moment the Taliban refuse to negotiate with President Karzai and the High Peace Council stating they are puppets of the United States. Why should the Taliban agree to a political framework that includes them when they feel they can have it all in a few years?

Another constraint are the major players in the proposed peace agreement - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and the Western powers. Each nation(s) has their own concept of a post-war political settlement for Afghanistan. Pakistan has the most to gain and lose as a chaotic Afghanistan is in their backyard. Pakistan is hedging and playing both sides of the fence - taking part in peace talks on one hand and then providing supplies, intelligence, support, and sanctuary to insurgent groups on the other.

Read more about the problems associated with proposed peace talks in "Renewed Push for Afghans to Make Peace With Taliban", The New York Times, February 16, 2013.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Afghanistan: Reconciliation and Reintegratioin OR Disorder and Disintegration

To some observers the future of Afghanistan appears dark and ominous. The Afghan government and its coalition allies are pushing for reconciliation with the insurgent leaders and reintegration of the insurgent rank and file as a means to allow the exit of ISAF troops and the consolidation of the authority and power for the Kabul government over the entire country. However, many insurgents and their leaders are not biting the apple of reconciliation and reintegration; which poses problems after 2014 when the bulk of the security forces who are doing the fighting will have gone home. Read more in "Reconciliation and Reintegration", Daily Outlook Afghanistan, April 3, 2012.

Monday, March 12, 2012

High Peace Council Member Provides Insight on Negotiations with Taliban

A member of the Afghan High Peace Council, Maulvi Qalamuddin, provided an interview that gives some insight on the possible path that future negotiations with the Taliban may take.  Maulvi Qalamuddin is a former member of the Taliban and was the former deputy minister for the General Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Elimination of Vice during the Taliban regime.  He was appointed to the High Peace Council in September 2010 by President Karzai.  The High Peace Council is engaged in reaching out to Taliban leaders as well as overseeing the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program (APRP).  Read more in "A new kind of Taliban: An interview with Maulvi Qalamuddin", AFPAK Channel, March 8, 2012.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reconciliation with the Taliban - Not so Much after Fake Negotiator is Uncovered

Reconciliation was in the news for much of the past several months.  NATO and Afghan governmental spokesmen were issuing statements indicating that the intensity of the Special Operations raids against the Taliban leadership were pushing the Taliban to the negotiating table.  They cited ongoing negotiations with the number two leader of the Taliban.  All came to a halt when they found out the number 2 guy was a fake - a shopkeeper from Pakistan.  Read more in "Afghanistan shifts from reconciliation after Taliban impostor revealed", The Christian Science Monitor, November 23, 2010.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Afghan Ethnic Minorities On Guard About Karzai Peace Initiatives

"PANJSHIR VALLEY, Afghanistan—President Hamid Karzai's moves to make peace with the Taliban are scaring Afghanistan's ethnic minorities into taking their weapons out of mothballs and preparing for a fight.  Mindful that Karzai's overtures come with NATO's blessing, and that U.S. and NATO forces will eventually leave, they worry that power will shift back into the hands of the forces they helped to overthrow in 2001. Such a peace deal won't be easy in a country with a complex ethnic makeup and a tradition of vendetta killings. With ethnic and tribal differences having sharpened during the violence of the last 30 years, there's little indication that Karzai's overtures are gaining much traction.  Still, some mujahedeen -- commanders of the Northern Alliance of minority groups that fought the Taliban -- are taking no chances. They speak openly of the weaponry they have kept despite a U.N. disarmament drive."
Read the rest of the article in "Wary of Taliban, Afghan mujahedeen ready for fight", The Boston Globe, November 13, 2010.