tv Forum Explores U.S. Political and Economic Strategy in Afghanistan CSPAN September 8, 2017 8:06pm-9:37pm EDT
so the 27 foot christmas trees cost in the amount of a car. it was sculptors praised by five-bedroom homes.it was to sculptors for $700,000 procured by a va center that serves blind veterans. it was a two block sculpture with landscaping for $1.2 million. this is the type of waste that is in our government. >> sunday night at 8 pm eastern on c-span q&a. now to the center for strategic and international studies by look at us strategy in afghanistan. this is an hour and 1/2.okay, we're going to get started.
i'm daniel runde. we are talking about the nonmilitary components of the us strategy in afghanistan. i think the first thing you have to say is i certainly welcome, i think many people welcome the fact that the president has come forward with a new strategy four afghanistan without timelines and with a commitment to a great cause. i think that there are -- there is a moral component to this as well. there is a lot of progress. i think that does not get a lot of coverage on this. and so for us to risk letting all of dad go with the price way too high. we have been working on this for a long time. i have been working with ambassador wayne and the senior advisor here. we have done a lot of things with the ambassador. we have got a very good panel
to cover the issues today but i think the other point i want to make is, you can't solve the challenges of afghanistan without diplomacy and without development. and we certainly welcome the fact that there is a security -- it requires a security component. but the fact on the ground are being changed by diplomacy and in the private sector.we want on that art of the conversation. the other thing is you want to work ourselves out of a job. afghanistan is in a different place than 10 or 15 years ago. if you look at the amount of assistance as the size of the economy in afghanistan it is much smaller than 10 years ago. if you look at afghanistan, they are collecting taxes for something like 10 percent. that is for every dollar than collecting taxes my formal private sector that is less money for hospitals and schools and security. we want to see those numbers go up, we want tax collection to
go up if we want economic growth. we want to work ourselves out of a job. or to a smaller part of the job. and i think that is possible. we need to have an endpoint and division four that looks like. i think the nonmilitary site is critical to this. and that will be a critical part. i'm really pleased, my good friend and colleague is going to be moderating this discussion. she was a new senior fellow here.she comes from an economist intelligence unit. you have her bio, it is a real pleasure to have her with us. i am going to introduce abdul -- to give an afghan perspective on this and he'll make a few brief remarks that will turn the panel over to my friend. abdul, please come up. [applause] >> thank you again for the invitation and arranging this
important discussion. -- ladies and gentlemen, good morning. they afghan strategy announced by the president of the united states on july 21 is important one. we welcome good condition based strategy which means that the determination of the presence and the number of troops will depend on the -- in afghanistan here why we welcome this and is aggressively pursuing reforms, anticorruption measures, peace and reconciliation efforts. we believe in the fact that military is not the only solution for the afghan problem. good governance, reforms, correction and education, regional corporations are vital
steps toward achieving a lasting stability. the government of afghanistan is committed to reforms and basin internal challenges could we just signed our commitment to implementing a contract with the united states which is a part -- prioritization. and a set of benchmarks and a number of - the presence of the two countries will meet regularly to ascertain whether the benchmarks are met according to the established timelines. the compact will cover four critical areas. including economy, security, good governance and peace and reconciliation.significant reforms in areas of business climate, financial sector, and primary sector are underway. we are also committed to providing hard is --
infrastructure. including power, transport. afghanistan is pursuing with absolute determination and is committed to improving government services and control of corruption. in regards to peace and reconciliation, afghanistan is trying to promote bilateral, process is an important in this direction. our nation calls for support of peace and reconciliation.we believe that the proper support with community will have significant progress in these areas.
i would like to end of another afghanistan is moving forward and the people of afghanistan are committed to owning their future. to make it short because i was told that i have only four minutes. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you very much. now we are going to introduce the distinguished panel. it is a pleasure to be here. i'm a senior fellow at csis. i am joined by ambassador wayne, the former deputy investment in coordinating directive for department and economic affairs for the us embassy and in afghanistan. and then we have ambassador richard olson, former us
ambassador to pakistan and special representative for afghanistan and pakistan and mr. jeffrey greco, president and ceo of the african-american chamber of commerce. i'm going to begin asking two questions about the past. and so, one of the main issues is, what is different in afghanistan since september 11? the second question, i am an economist, i like data. the second question would be, so what are some key achievements, some key data points that you could talk about since september 11? that have been a success and that we can show progress in afghanistan. those are two questions about the past. then i will ask two questions about the future strategy and about the future of
afghanistan. >> thank you. i think as a former assistant administration of usaid i think the investments made early on from 2002 onward were focused on building the social infrastructure of afghanistan which was completely decimated. we focused on building schools, getting curriculum design, getting girls in school, building clinics, local community-based clinics, establishing midwife systems and all of that early infrastructure investment that afghanistan, maternal death rates went from 189/211 up to where it is now where is i think about 110 and that his dramatic progress rate country to make in such a short time period. i think a lot of girls now the five or six or seven years,
there are more schools bills. perhaps too many schools in some cases because conflict zones overtook the school that we had constructed with the afghan community. so i think education and social progress and healthcare has taken dramatic steps forward. other steps, economic steps are really important to know. they are working very hard to comply with all of the requirements that a typical state has to do. and with very little capacity in their own ministries to do that, it has been hard but they're working through it very diligently with great support from the donor community. the revenue collected in the last few years now i started to pick up. so domestic resource mobilization is now improving. i think that is a very big credit to the president because he is the one who is really focused on trying to improve the domestic resource mobilization. their physical state is okay by qualify that because they are in a workout with afghanistan face of the physical state better be okay if we are in a
workout situation. subregional growth, both within afghanistan there are big pockets of very strong private sector led, market led going on. areas that i think is a real model. kabul, i do not like to go in there is an automatic because it is itself the center of government. so there is naturally more investment i think end trait going in with institutions there.the president is moving now aggressively to integrate the country as the regional economy. there is a hope of announcements that they've made. they now have a direct rail service coming into northern afghanistan. there is no direct flights, cargo flies happening out every three weeks between kabul into india. i'm the new agreement that the president had signed. that is positive and i'm hearing from a government official that it's actually going to be speeding up and you will see more of it. last is road integration. there are a lot of roads being built. and our deal in the south will
give them access into a free port area for experts. and we have taken too long for the government to move forward on liberalizing the ipt industry sector. that means they will be having a spectrum allocation for 4g finally. it should have happened probably two years ago. there has been a lot of resistance. he did announce a open access policy. he was seen on big investments coming in in the telecom sector. -- that was the driver of a lot of growth early on and now is shifting to private sector led effort without any involvement. >> great, thank you. and jeff, i will not repeat the accomplishments that you have cited. let me say that yes, the us government was the main donor during that time but it was also if you will, a consortium of builders from all of the
world contributing to the foundational investments if you will in afghanistan at an early stage was people used to 2002 until the time that i served with ambassador wayne m afghanistan. i was there during the search from 2010 to 2011. i've also said that since that point, congress has been more incremental, if you will. slower. and so, even though there are a lot of good things as jeff has done to site with regards to education and health and the economy, i think the point that way, the major crisis that we were looking at in 2010 in 2011 was the actual transition and
the effect of the transition would have on afghanistan's governance as will well is the economy. imagine more than 100,000 troops propping up the economy and then, in a short period of time, a rapid scaling down of the troops. and i would say that it appears afghanistan has weathered the worst of it. that it has hit bottom. perhaps a year and and a half ago in the economy is beginning to rebound. that is good, it reflects some of the important things of the government is doing with regard to the economy, putting into place a national procurement law, the presence of is very much engaged in running the economy, he is a former world bank person. he is also involved with wayne and me in shaping the assistance programs. let me contrast the assistance
program from back then until now. i would say at that point it was little government capacity. we were overwhelming the government and country with aid dollars. so there are a lot of parallel structures. i think with the government has done now is trying to bring in both governments. the us government as well as the afghan government. bringing more assistance on the books of the government so it is a coordinated process in the government is in the lead. i can say from my experience now, i served as a senior vice president for creative associates. we have been involved in basic education and afghanistan for more than 10 years.we have seen phenomenal progress along the way. but one thing that does not make it into the headlines is really the capacity of the government. and the minister of education and the government actually
taking the lead. we are often told by the government, slow down. we are in charge, we are not ready to move to this district or that district and of course, with all of the government. it is an assistance program that is much more aligned with the government. i did say that it does appear that the bottoming out has taken a place in the economy is on the incline. the biggest concern is security. i'm sure we'll talk about that through this session. but when we see the number or the percentage of districts under government control, declining, that is not a good signal to investors. so there other parts of the world where, in an insecure environment, we will see that come in but it is not coming in and afghanistan for some reasons. on that, because investment is not coming in, the economy is
growing at a slow pace. in the biggest concern that i have as a look at afghanistan's demographics. it has the third largest in the world. 65 percent of the population is under the age of 25. that can be either the curse for the dividend. unfortunately, right now is probably more toward the former rather than the latter. the problem is that the economy is not progressing, it is not growing quickly enough to absorb all of those door seeking jobs. 400,000 new jobseekers a year. come out of the university system for the high school system looking for jobs and the jobs are not there. and we do know that the sense of a lack of a future to include the lack of a job is one of the reasons that the
insecurity is being fueled. >> okay. unlike you, i am not an economist. i'm a political officer by trade. so i'm not going to go heavy on data. i am afraid but i and going to say in terms of what is different between now and 9/11 and following on earl's comments. the main difference for us as americans is that there have been no attacks against their homeland since 9/11. i think in particular, what is striking is just as the economy has been to rebound, after the big transition in 2014. it is also that the security situation has held steady or that many might have expected. the fact is that after combat
operations in the end of 2014, the taliban and others threw everything they had at the afghan government and coalition forces. and have not been able to actually have any capital and the latest numbers from dod suggest that the government retains control of territory that accounts for 21.4 million afghans. whereas the taliban is in control of territory that probably holds 2 to 3 million afghans. so you know i think that there is a bit of a perception in the united states that the taliban is on the ascendant. and it might be true purely on a geographic sense.but what
the taliban is doing is getting great areas of control over deserts and mountains. in the cities, the urban centers continue to be under government control.especially the five great cities of afghanistan. and i think that's important because another element that was eluded to hear which was the growth of the population. and that population growth has been almost entirely in the city. couple was a city of 200,000 and 2001 and it is now a city in the millions. on thing anyone knows exactly how many people they have, for 5 million. that is the usual estimate. most of those people are young. and they are connected to the outside world by telecoms in a way that has not happened ever in afghan history. i mean afghanistan is a very different place. it is much more urbanized.
and is much more connected to the outside world than it ever has been in the past. so i think that we need to be thinking about this in terms of conflict, in terms of a rural traditionalist element versus a urban modernizing element. this is an old conflict that goes back when tony and i were talking about whether goes back 40 years or 100 years or longer. you could go back to the 11th century if you want and you can cite this phenomenon. but it does seem to me that the weight of demographics is very much on the side of what i think all of us in this room would see as progress. >> so my colleagues have laid out many of the achievements and difficulties that we still face along the way. i think it is fair to remember that the reason we went so
quickly and afghanistan that the reason we are still in afghanistan and are going to stay has to do with that potential terrorist threat. and if you look at the broader region, and afghanistan and his neighbors, there are still a lot of radicals and terrorism, terrorists in the area. there is a real possibility if the united states are to leave more casts were returned to the space. so that within that context, it is also important to remember that we really did not understand the scope and complexity of the challenges we were taking on when we went into afghanistan. and the united states and its allies have been learning along the way. they've been working with afghan partners and allies who also have been learning along the way that are a mix of modernizer's and
traditionalists. and they are different places on that spectrum. and then in many ways, we have been telescoping the process of building a more modern state and society into a period of time that it would be hard to find another nation where this has taken place. so it is not surprising that there are a lot of challenges. and in addition to the civil war aspect of this, there is the regional rivalries which continue to complicate the situation in this part of the world. so it is really a complex set of challenges. as the us government i think we have learned a lot along the way. as a coalition of partners and allies we've learned a lot along the way. but one of the things we have learned is that if we're going to succeed, there are a number of very important paths of action.
in those need to be coordinated. they need to be coordinated well. the security actions are really important. the one of the points that we are here to talk about today is that it is also essential that we have a good assistance part of that which is governance, economic development related programs and that we have very effective diplomacy both inside afghanistan, with pakistan, inside pakistan, in the region for this all to come together and to move in a positive direction.and that remains a very tough set of challenges. so whatever you think about the policy that the united states just announced, the real focus now is on how well is it going to be implemented to working with our afghan partners,
working with the other countries in the region. trying to find a way to get pakistan to play a more constructive role, to get others and as far away as china to play more constructive role in moving everybody toward a political settlement. . one of the key parts of the new strategy is making more explicit, it was already there, already a line of action in us policy before. but making more explicit, that we are aiming now to move toward a political settlement where the taliban would participate in a peaceful settlement. that will take a lot of effort and a lot of these lines of action and we can talk about that more but it certainly is my belief that the governance and development assistance part of that is not just the united states, it is all of our, we have many partners and allies investing very helpful in the
area. it is going to be those members of the ministries and in kabul who are embracing their effectiveness and services to those in afghanistan. it will be the soldiers. afghan soldiers and others but it is also going to be reaching out directly and indirectly to the taliban and others and creating a space where there can be those political discussions. let me stop there. >> thank you very much. this is great segue for my next set of questions on the future. looking towards the future of afghanistan and president trump recent remarks, for you, what are the key components of a nonmilitary strategy in afghanistan? that is my first broad question. and the second question, which
ambassador wayne touched upon is, what is the biggest challenge in implementing these key components? so, i invite you to answer any of these two questions. >> would you like to start? the commitment, then it commitment to security is relatively modest and i guess the theory is by bringing in trainers, and really focusing on building up capacity, the afghan special forces that security in areas where the taliban are present or were, areas that are contested between the government and die ãand the taliban that they will be able to take over those four take control of those areas to provide governance and also provide development and in those areas. i would say that the us
assistance program and other donors assistance programs are primarily working in areas where the government has a control. and so, if the government is able to expand its control, moving into those areas fairly rapidly to provide opportunity to provide services, it will be a priority. i'm not saying that we go back to a counterinsurgency approach where stabilization was a primary tool. however afghanistan with world bank and others really do have an effective mechanism. and that is through the nsb and various iterations with national solidarity and now has become the citizens partner. it is a very robust model. it is operating in more than 25,000 communities throughout afghanistan and it is building at a very organic level of
local governance biblical governance with development. and so my view is that that is a necessary element. almost immediately after security has been obtained in new areas. and then other development will come in through education and hopefully at least some market-based economic growth. but that is a longer-term. >> okay so i am going to be a little bit provocative because i think there are some things from a private sector, economic standpoint that need to be really said publicly on afghanistan that have not been sent for at least the last eight years. first, we want to thank --'s we want to complement the president. he should be focusing on gemstones, agriculture, that is 22 percent of the economy.
tech carpets and textiles as well. that is a given. we also want to continue more aggressively pushing independent power production throughout afghanistan and lincoln the production to long-term concessionary agreements that are transparently done under the extractive industry standards act. and focus on coal, gas and other hydrocarbons. the world bank made the only exception in the world to do coal development for afghanistan this year. and that is a big issue. afghanistan has very good quality cleanburning coal and can supply an enormous amount of the energy requirements around the country. also, we need to continue fighting corruption was very high-profile cases.given phone afghanistan, had a four-story three-star general who has been on trial and i believe has been convicted forth high-level corruption. we need to increase the public financial management of the ministries. especially since the word bank, says only 25 percent of the
dollars for the projects are getting spent. that is outrageous.that is one of the reasons that the parliament itself fired six ministers, i am sorry seven ministers this past year as a result of that. now i'm going to talk about some things quickly that we want to stop doing and some things we want to start doing. very quickly. you want to stop funding and list ministry capacity development project and start trying to work on building a real market led economy, private sector economy that can sustain like earl said, 400,000 new workers each year. not all of whom are in afghanistan, a lot of them are refugee returnees. when you look at the numbers, they actually have college educations.have been working successfully outside the country and are now forced to come back in her getting resettled and have skills that they can be applied to. it is the private sector that is going to build that. not more government ministry capacity that will be a
sustainable, a plan for them long-term.the legislative private sector development plan for 2018 to 2023 that is designed, written and implemented by the afghan private sector. there needs to be a bigger voice for the afghan private sector and the priorities of the government and in the policies and programs out there implementing. i will give you one example. i would like to stop according to the recent bank report, because of the workout situation that afghanistan is going through, the bank is advocating that they spend no more money right now on mission-critical infrastructure and economic investments because they are bad for growth. according to the bank. the multiplier, this is a term that the bank uses. the multiplier is a negative. where they would like us to spend more money going forward is all social investments in specifically cash transfers, health and education. they think that will be more positive. this is a critical pivot point for them. they have agriculture, other
areas that will not condone that the donor community being in sync on this. next i think the us government leads to dump the current short bilateral agreement on how we will run the economic relationship together. it has not been amended since 2004. it is outdated, it is inappropriate to continue to try and build it bilateral economic relationships between the two countries with archaic and very agreement between us. what would like to do and i think some of it is based on my observations at the brussels conference where i was able to sit in on some comedians are shocked at how even more upset frankly than the us government is, or other donors in europe are upset about afghanistan. we would like to see a bilateral relationship going forward with the private sector has a part in a economic relationship. there is a counsel that would
form inmate bilaterally governs our meeting so we can better integrate the private sector led growth strategy longer-term. with the results, framework tied into the benchmarks that the administration is now holding the government accountable for the private sector aspects of it. a couple of last points. i think -- government, i do not wanted to take the place of building strong economic relationships with united states. right now, there is no bilateral tax. bilateral trade, bilateral investment agreement between the us and afghanistan. after 15 years of our blood and treasure with none of the basic foundational instruments for economic relations.but we have them with pakistan, india and all of the others we basically have those agreements in place and they have been in
place for years. that needs to get fixed. this needs to be a priority for thermoses that these foundations. because knowing is multinational that might have regional offices in delhi or karachi will come in and invest or allow any personnel in if they do not have investment protections and basic trade protections. none of that exists right now. lastly is capital. i think capital is from the afghan american chamber's perspective, capital is a key issue right now in afghanistan. there is only two percent of afghan businesses that are using private banks to fund their investments. and to invest. all of it is coming out of their pockets or other investors from the uae and dubai and other places. we want to see the afghan central bank losing its overly conservative lending rules on capital and finance for the business sector. a lot of the rules were place after the cobble back scannable happens, they went to an extreme now. and now they're offering a higher percentage of earnings,
banks to put their money into the central bank and earn it and not lend that money or capital that is there and available for investment onto businesses that could invest in hotels and marketplaces and manufactures facilities or mineral extraction and other things. we would like to see the bank and usaid and the credit authority program work more carefully, using guarantees, blended finance instruments and other tools that can help us to get capital flowing again inside the economy. right now it is not happening. i will leave it there. >> i think we have to talk a little about the future of afghanistan and in the context of current us policy. i would just make a couple of observations quickly on current policy. first of all it has been widely remarked as a non-timeline
based approach in terms of the military forces and there is a modest increase in the military forces and of course as everyone has noted, a harder line with pakistan. at least publicly. i would say that none of these things are actually dramatic and new. even the non-timeline based deployment, the last decision president obama made on troops that is to retain troops was non- timeline based. it was condition space. it was not widely noted at the time but it is true. and on the increase of troops i think there's nothing particularly from my perspective -- about the troop levels that were there. all of these things i think represents a gradual shifting in emphasis in us policy rather than a radical departure.
although it is important that the formal statement of conditions based is policy going forward. what is a little bit less clear to me is what the us government sees as the overall objective comedy central objective to pursue with our engagement in afghanistan. it seems to me that what it boils down to is for the us government, there are two broad options for policy going forward. one is a long war that is where we continue to harden the afghan state as it has developed over the last 16 years and a lot of accomplishments have already been highlighted. against insurgents and the other alternative it seems to me is to attempt to foster and pursue a political settlement.
again, i look at this in the perspective of political settlement. i look at is in the context of afghanistan having been in the state of a civil war, for at least the last 40 years. i also look at this in the context having been in pakistan as us ambassador the fact that the town been has a safe haven in pakistani territory in the records of counter insurgencies against insurgents is a heavy foreign safe haven is pretty grim. so for those reasons, i am a proponent of pursuing a political settlement. with the taliban. it seems to me that that has to be actually the central objective of us policy. you can read that into the president's remarks of 21st of august.
he did talk about possible political settlement at some point in the future. i've yet to meet a four-star general who does not at least privately admit that is one with afghan experience, that this will end in a political settlement and not an outright military victory. it seems to me that if that is indeed the case, we should make political settlement a central element of us policy. and we should pursue it. political settlement in my mind does not mean that the taliban is going to wake up one day and sue for peace. i do not think that the taliban is winning but also do not think that they think that they are losing. so there has to be modality to use a bit of jargon there for the town been and the us government and the international community as a whole and regional actors to
discuss the issues and a way forward. the issues that divide them. if i think i would to identify the thing is is potentially missing and fully articulated us policy would have help some of us have given thought to, is the need to bring about some kind of diplomatic process. that includes the region and includes those who are fighting. at least the taliban. i do not think that daesh. but those were the insurgents of the fighting against the afghan government. and in some sense, some ways this can be overstretched as a historical analogy but some sense represent a group of people that has been fighting for the last 40 years. >> i think that as my colleagues comments are made clear, the challenges about living together lines of action inside afghanistan and in the
region to actually get to a positive outcome, inside afghanistan is exactly right that there are very important things that can helpfully be done in the economy, and governance and this is going to be a combination of working with the government but also other political forces in the country. it is really important for a member that relationships between the government and parliament in afghanistan are not too smooth at the moment. relationships within the government still need to be smoothed out at times. in that sense, this new contract will be an important bilateral mechanism for progress. and they need to do that, they need to go forward. even though we are asking a lot of afghanistan to change and press forward, we need to ask that as part of facilitating a
broader settlement.and these things are not easy. but they are also going to need asters outside the government to participate in this. there are elections that are supposed to come up in afghanistan. parliamentary and otherwise so they will have forces that need to be dealt with. not that we should be directing afghan politics but we need to understand what is going on in afghan politics and we and our other partners, international partners can be facilitators. and need to talk to the various actors in the process as it goes forward. i think that the compact, the regular meetings between the top senior level afghan and us officials can be very helpful in that process. but not separated from the other donors. this is not just a bilateral deal going on here. it is really important that there are these, several donors working there that there are about 30 countries that have
troops of one another contributing on the military side. this is an important part of what's going on. and those allies and partners will be key if you're able to move ahead in this regional process also. they could help facilitate that. they can be supportive of it. so coalition management as you may quote or partner management is a really important line of action going forward. and then i think as rick correctly said if you try to break it down into the actual lines of action, and a lot of it is outside of afghanistan but working in close coordination with what you are doing in afghanistan. this is a big set of diplomatic tasks. and you can just look at where rick was ambassador. politics and diplomatic transport was needed in order to get a useful dialogue.
there are other tools in the process but the key is going to be, is there a dialogue that can actually bring us closer together and moving toward a common objective? and the do think as rick was saying, there's a lot of definition defining still need to go on and where we want to be in several years. and as you notice, they also talked about the india and pakistan rivalry. saying that it has to be seen in that context. there again is a long-standing set of very difficult issues. so yes it will be great to work and try to reduce the rivalry by thinking through how you do that, how you integrate that into what we are doing in afghanistan, what are we doing on the border, etc. it is a big task. there is a lot to do here in is going to demand a very nuanced and well coordinated us effort. >> thank you. i just have a follow-up question on regional actors.
how do you see the role of china and russia going forward? that is my last question and then we will open up the last 30 minutes for q&a for the public. >> i think also on regional actors, one has to include india as well. and i will talk about india because i think russia and china certainly rush on the security side is a potential negative influencer. and then china more along the lines of investment in pakistan i think that is more suitable. india is also an important player and ambassador wells, who is our acting secretary for south asia, we also think that she may be the acting -- as well during negotiations in the
region. it was an in dsa for example. it is not just helping forage security ties and strengthen diplomatic ties between afghanistan and india have but it is also the economic aspects. and india has been a major player in supporting development in afghanistan. they recently inaugurated the freedom -- if you will. but it is also to try and promote commercial ties. and i know that there is commitment on the part of india to expand and afghanistan to expand trade over the next 3 to 4 years. i believe it is $5 billion. another us program is helping to do that as well. that is a main focus. so india i think will become important player certainly on
the commercial side for the us. >> just on the economic side, for commercial trade and import, export standard, pakistan is the largest exporter of afghan goods and india is way behind with catching up at nine percent. china only had 6.1 percent. where exports from afghanistan commodity trade exports, which includes obviously large -- as well. they have handwoven rugs and other items. but -- originally, their biggest trade partners are their next-door neighbors, the chinese have come in and attempted to strike for lack of a better word, grand bargains are mineral extraction, gas, supplies, rail lines, trying to do a lot economically that will
help the chinese commercial engine but not necessarily to have the afghan commercial engine. especially since some of the deals were cut directly with regional governors is not with the central government. and we still have, i think for now it is 70 percent of the real afghan economy is informal. still at this time. so a lot of the trading partners in major players like china are extracting minerals and resources that are not going through any type of government revenue process or concessionary process but instead, are focused on enhancing the livelihoods of regional governors, power centers, militia leaders etc. >> on the visual dimension, i would add a couple of countries to the list that we have been talking about in addition to china and russia. i think it is already been on the india and pakistan are usually important. and iran is not insignificant. i think that if we look on the political side of things what we have seen is an increase in
the hedging strategies by almost all of these regional players except maybe india. russia and iran have been building their relationships with the taliban despite let us say, a lack of ideological and religious affinity.especially in iran. pakistan has never really abandoned this hedging strategy with regard to afghanistan. i think what has changed quite a bit from the political standpoint in the past 16 years is that china has become much more engaged in the region. if there is one piece of positive news in all of this, i think it is that china and the united states largely share a common perception with regard to afghanistan. and even to some extent, with regard to pakistan.
that is a concern about ungoverned spaces emerging in afghanistan and pakistan from which attacks on the respective homelands can be made. in the case of china of course the -- movement which has had safe haven of sorts in the border areas. i think that just to focus for a little bit for a moment on pakistan in particular. i think this is a important question right now. what has not perhaps receive as much discussion as it needs to right now is the question of what leverage the united states actually has over pakistan. there is a considerable emphasis on the assistance that we have provided to afghanistan or to pakistan over the past decade and 1/2. most recently iteration was
about seven and half billion assistance and substantially more over the years. insecurity assistance. but i think that this pales in comparison to what china is putting into pakistan right now. i wonder the pakistan for the china pakistan economic corridor which is sort of a one-word initiative. china is probably committed to putting 46 billion or 47 billion into pakistan. that is in directed investments. and soft lawns. i think that the pakistani perspective this is reducing independence on the united states and us economic assistance in particular. not so much security assistance. but the other point does not receive a lot of attention, and this is just a matter of
looking at a map. afghanistan is a landlocked country.in central asia. if we hope to sustain a garrison for some period of time in afghanistan, we need to access it by land and by air. by land you really only have the option of going through pakistan, unless our relationships with iran were to dramatically improve. which i do not think is in the cards. even by air, the most direct route is even certainly over pakistan. i think either is a temptation imparted to overestimate our degree of leverage on pakistan. and -- because of how we view our own substantial assistance programs.
the reality is that i think pakistan was going to pursue its own self defined national interest in ways that are probably -- to ours. i think again, we need to address this at a political level. and i think the us taking the initiative to launch a political initiative that is a pathway towards settlement is a conflict, is really the only way to adjust the ultimate question of regional hedging.
if you leave a space some not so friendly friends may go off on their own anyway and try to do things which can make it much more confident to get to a peaceful solution. plus, the point that there is a lot of good economic things that can be done for afghanistan and pakistan if you can get those across pakistan economic pipelines and transmission lines and other things agreed in working. part of the reason of course because of the trade with india below is that pakistan will let anything cross its landmass to get to india. the indians would buy a lot more from afghanistan. that is why it is important to try to work on the indi
india-pakistan privately at the same time. it will just be hard to do that. it is important but hard to do. so, all of this leads to the conclusion that -- my conclusion that we need a very active regional policy with the mind, within mind how do we incentivize a path to a negotiated solution using those other actors that can be useful. none of them -- except pakistan is the greatest influence on the television but together there can be a mass that can make a positive difference if they're organized in a way that helps bring a positive impact about. the big question -- one of the big questions is iran. how will we get engaged and what will they do to mess things up that they don't like what is going on. we do need to get through. i still remember back to the first donor conferences that we
had in the fall of 2001 in the beginning of 2002 in afghanist afghanistan. iran was there and they actually wanted to play a constructive role at that time for ideological reasons they were not friendly with the television and they were happy to see this change. there are still some geostrategic areas where we might be able to find common ground, if we can talk to them and bring them into a processing and constructive way. big? on their. >> thank you very much. now we have about 25 minutes for q&a from the public. we will take about two-three questions at a time and we will answer those and then go to the next round. there are microphones at the --
yes, let's take these two, the lady in the gentleman. please identify yourself and your affiliation. >> hello. i'm samara daniels. i'm very interested in the future of pakistan and afghanistan and india because according to my father we were possibly converts from hinduism to islam so it's a very complex ethnic backgrounds. i would like ambassador wayne and perhaps investor olson to explain who you consider the television because i think this question has been so convoluted and responsible for the chaos
that has ensued or should i say the drawbacks to the strategy is a result of the confusion of the tallow man and the refugees that went over into pakistan and the soviet invasion. thanks. [inaudible] my question is also yours. who are the taliban? they have never renounced al qaeda. they are working together with the islamic movement and they are working together with the et im and they're working with other terrorist organizations. [inaudible]
all the assistance has been from some side that our political sentiment should be solved but should we seek a political settlement with the tallow man that is not the organization that is continuing on killing the afghan people and when it comes to pakistan we are always being open to dialogue with them but the dialogue never happens because we get to policies and action does not take place. i think the united states should draw the line with pakistan, with us or against us is the equation because if they continue this getting away with public statements that they denounce terrorism and the promise they will help take
action against a network and so on and at the end of the day nothing happens, i think, the only way is to focus more also on the military side of the issue and embedded with the political and diplomatic. you mention that some modalities can be pursued. my question to ambassador olson is i'd love to hear an expiration on those. thank you. >> you said some modalities. for this political settlement, yeah. >> i will let ambassador olson go with this first because he worked on it rectally for the last couple years. [laughter] >> who are the taliban? i think the television is
actually a relatively coherent organization. we can identify who its primary leaders are and we can identify the fact that it has we have several governing bodies will. [inaudible] those of course, one window, city names and pakistan. there are a group at the the responsibility deals with foreigners and ultimately presumably for working with foreigners does have an informal presence in qatar. so, to jump to my colleagues question about modalities, i
would say the first step in a modality that is to say the first step in getting a peace process going would be to revive what was attempted was being done in 2013 which is open formally the taliban offices for discussing peace with the afghan in a publicly recognized way. that is the first step in the second step is to bring in the regional players who are so significant and i think we have identified all of them. there are a lot of challenges there because there is a great difficulty which conceptually i do not know how to reconcile between bringing india and pakistan into the same room and afghanistan and that is a huge challenge. i won't underestimate that. in principle it seems to me that that is what one should want to be pursuing as a way forward.
now, i fully agree with you that the taliban has not renounced at least, not definitively, has not renounced any ties with al qaeda or, indeed with international terrorist organizations. there are hints and some various statements that were put out by. [inaudible] but there has not been a formal break and it is well-establish well-established. the afghan government's position is that as an and condition that taliban will have to renounced terrorism and break with al qaeda and they will have to stop violence and respect the afghan constitution. it is important to note that those are end conditions and that has been at least under the obama and mistress and also the policy of the united states to have those as an conditions but i think it's unrealistic to expect that what are perceived
by the taliban concessions are made at the outset of the process. i think they will come at the end of a process and, i think, that principle taliban demand at least for the united states is the withdrawal of foreign forces and i think it's equally unrealistic to expect the united states to concede that point early in the process. it seems to me between district there is a space for diplomatic negotiation and for discussion. i think that the only way we will be able to find out whether a deal is possible is if we get into that negotiation space and begin to talk about these core issues.
>> just to add, i think that's exactly right. there are different parts of the taliban but they do have unifying political bodies that come together to talk about it. the argue amongst themselves and have differences of opinion. there's differences between the local taliban to go out and fight in one province and the people living in pakistan. that is true but it's true and a lot of insurgencies around the world and it takes often just a long process to start engaging and defining what they really want and what the government really wants and finding a common ground. -- you just need to engage and keep trying. there will be a lot of failed efforts in doing that but you try to create the conditions so that gradually the perception of the benefits of a political settlement becomes more positive and you can see how long it took in columbia to get to a position of a political settlement. many, many years of difficult fighting from both parties and difficult negotiations and a lot
of failed starts and even a good process got turned off for a while and they got turned back on again and a referendum that, by the people, cause it to be revisited. if you look at all these places it is a hard process but you have to start. certainly from the us perspective the groups that attack specifically us persons, civilians and others are the least acceptable of those and that will be part of the discussion during the negotiations. as rick said that will be part of the initial discussion and hopefully you'll get to a solution that's the same from the afghan government. this will be tough but if we don't try this path it is unlikely, as rick also said earlier to find a solution where there's been a sanctuary, an active sanctuary is really hard to find.
>> just one point on the coherency of the taliban. the fact is we have done a deal with taliban whatever one thanks of it. [inaudible] was held by the least acceptable element of the taliban and he was released in response of negotiations with political commission which is to say the representative of. [inaudible] it does in fact suggest that there is a degree of coherency in the organization. >> i will take two questions from the left and then i will take two questions from the right. [inaudible] [laughter] i already did. the lady in blue and the gentleman here. >> thanks very much. megan with the us afghan women's council. thank you for this wide-ranging discussion that hasn't focused only on military aspects but on the development and other
aspects. one topic that has been conspicuously absent from conversations around the august 201st policy is women's role in the self-reliance conflict resolution and security of afghanistan. as more than half of the population is women how can the new policy effectively incorporate the educational achievements that were talked about, the economic advancements in the leadership of women in afghanistan future while still avoiding backsliding and violence against women and their economic opportunities and their participation in the ongoing peace process. thanks so much. >> i can take the economic -- oh. >> thank you very much. alexander, quick comment on ambassador wayne mentioned columbia and maybe i will be an
optimist here but one thing to think about very much getting ahead of myself is a company implementation of an eventual peace agreement because even in columbia today the limitations is not like we find the deal and we are done or central america. two questions for investor olson. one is maybe moving beyond the modalities and i wonder if you could disregard to put you on the spot but put you on the spot and speculate the broad outlines of a deal could look like between the taliban and the government. in terms of leverage with pakistan i'm wondering if you could comment on the importance of trade between pakistan and the us -- if that is leverage or not. thank you.
>> let me say that the constitution of afghanistan protects the rights of women and i believe the administration and the president are very serious about women's rights, education for women, employment opportunities for women. unfortunately, and they have been disadvantaged over years their own development is quite limited in terms of comparison with men. by that i mean if you look at things such as illiteracy rates is double what it is of men. however, i know the donors and i know the usa in its largest program is focused on women's empowerment and trying to build the qualities and skills of women so that they become leaders in parliament and
leaders in schools and they become leaders in the economy. >> a couple of ideas on that. so, as support to afghan women both within the economy but also within institutions that governance in afghanistan has been a critical part of us assistance for over 11-12 years. that money was put into our budget to fund, not only usace but whether activities through the banks were afghan ministers and direct on budget support and so forth. that money has been there and is still there for this administration has now had two basic budgets that they can influence and that money is still there. the new budget that came out yesterday by the senate appropriations subcommittee on state doorknobs has maintained maintenance of the afghan budget to a large degree and it is likely that the house conference with the senate will continue those and i think there hasn't been any major announcements or
even an inch coronation of the demonstration will pull back from that and i rest that also on the fact that dana powell who is one of the president's closest advisers is a very strong supporter. when she was at goldman sachs she iran one of the largest ngo organization supporting women globally but afghanistan was a big focus for dana and a lot of the activities that she worked on. i know she is a big voice inside the national security council about maintaining this kind of support longer term. on the issue of vocational training -- when the united states went in and we saw primary focus on healthcare implementation, not to men but women. those women whether they be midwives or doctors or others are basically the capacity of the health ministry and they have been the ones that have lamented the vaccination programs all over afghanistan that have taken their child and death rates down to record numbers. it is women who have done it. on the itp sector i like to remind everybody about this.
cell phone penetration in afghanistan has now overwriting 8% and that is a large portion of women has doubled. now what that means is operationally on the ground to an afghan woman in a family in a rural village she can get the call from the midwife that she is coming into new vaccinations in the village and to health checkups and have her children they are as opposed to before she have to get on a horse or in a ride on a bus and go four or five, six hours to get healthcare. that has changed now. icp is help it. it is not just that they have cell phones but that it's opening the door for women in afghanistan to have access to a whole bunch of other services and i hope we continue our support for longer term. >> a quick word on women. before i gave a compressed version of what has been afghan and us policy on reconciliation.
the full third and condition is respect for the afghan constitution, including its provisions with regard to minorities and women. i think that is hugely important and i think it will be a topic that i would envision would have to be an important part of any political settlement and, i think, once one got a modality underway, whatever form it takes there would have to be a very serious discussion of women's issues and i think it would be -- i suspect that president conti and the national unity government would want a strong woman's representative component in any discussions at place. i think that certainly the gains of the past 16 years have to be preserved. had into the outlines of the formula and what is the deal that could be worked. look, this is speculative and i don't think it's possible to say until the negotiations began but it seems to me that i would break the sets of issues down
into three buckets. you have the purely internal domestic afghan issues and that is the issues that has driven the civil war in the course of the last 40 years and you have the regional dimension that is the interference and regional powers and you have the question of at least how the taliban would define it as the foreign forces which is to say our presence through nato over the past 60 years. if i were working on this what i would be looking to do is to get some assurances and more than assurances, actual evidence of breaking of links between the taliban and al qaeda and other terrorist groups. in return, for those breakages began to think about some kind of phase withdrawal of foreign
forces. honestly, the devil is in the details on this and you have to make sure that there is something enforceable in reversible if the assurances don't turn into a reality. the external element, again, it's simpler to state in principle than it would be to negotiate in process but the basic ideas that afghan territory cannot be a threat to anyone in the region and cannot be used against anyone else. there are, of course we talked and i talked about the safe havens on the pakistani side of the border, but of course pakistan representative here he would say that there are safe havens on the afghan side of the border. those issues need to be addressed. finally, there are the internal
set of issues and i think these have to be addressed -- i visit, when we talk about an afghan lead afghan owns peace process this is the core issue that has to to be afghan led an afghan don't and really in which foreigners i don't think we'll have very much to say except perhaps to set broad boundaries on what they can find acceptable and own up to. i think there will have to be some discussion amongst and between the taliban and the afghan government and the constitution whether it needs to be amended and perhaps how to tell a man can on model come into the afghan lyrical process in a peaceful process. i don't think we can prejudge that except to say that, of course, afghans do have some very ready-made institutions for addressing these questions.
i mean, afghan politics at some level is all about reconciliation and i would see this developing through a. [inaudible] it is not hard to imagine in principle how this could be brought about. the final thing that i would say on this -- we shouldn't underestimate the emergence of the islamic state in afghanistan as a new factor that changes the dynamic somewhat. it is not -- and i'm speaking obviously in a speculative way but it is not out of the realm of possible that that has changed the taliban's consolation on foreign forces and that is something to be discussed. i don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that the taliban might accept some gradual phase which we are all for a very long periods if that would help to ensure afghan stability and prevent a conflict in contain conflict with.
[inaudible] >> oh, yeah. leverage on pakistan. well, look, it is true that pakistan and the us -- the us has been pakistan's largest trading partner over the years. i don't know if that is still true and i haven't looked at the numbers recently. i suspect in this regard china is probably moving ahead. i am not sure how much -- i don't get offers much leverage in a negative sense and i don't think there is anything that we would want to do to reduce our exports to pakistan. we don't import much from pakistan. in a positive sense, of course, there is a huge potential incentive for pakistan in that it's a textile producing country and if it were able to import
its textiles into the nine states under more favorable terms that would be a big boon to the pakistani economy. frankly, my senses first no one is thinking about carrots right now and second trade deals in and of itself, i leave it to the collective sense of the audience whether this administration will pursue trade deals. and especially free trade deals. potentially, it is interesting but i don't see it as something that has a real immediate opportunity. >> to be clear, and quick, i do think the frontier between front. [inaudible] there are people operating on both sides of the border against the other country.
secondly, i do think, of course, the women's issue is very important and it's important that people keep making sure that that is brought up and considered. things must go forward. i think there will be a lot of voices from the united states supporting that and that we have all dedicated a lot of time and effort to helping the role of women in afghanistan expand. >> thank you. one final question from the right. >> i just have a comments. my name is. [inaudible] and i have been working in afghanistan for the last 14 years. all outside of the wire. for those of you who haven't been in afghanistan you don't understand what i mean when i say outside the wire. i have witnessed failures in afghanistan and i think there are three major successes that we have accomplished over the years. first, the political structure and afghanistan. no one has it in that area.
second is the law and constitution. it is well advanced and nobody has it in that region. third, a free press. that i would say no one who has in that area. our failures: economy. specifically employment or unemployment. to date if you want to be employed in afghanistan you have only one industry to go to and it's called the war industry. either you get hired by taliban or by the afghan army. either way you are dead six months later. the taliban and pays $400 or $500 and afghan army pays 200 or 250. that is a sad story in afghanistan. then the greater problem is that every thing in afghanistan has been dissolved by politics. i hear that with you guys.
here is the issue with afghanistan. let's suppose someone leaves and has an appendectomy needs a surgery but the very first thing that happens is they will go to the foreign ministry and the american industry and they all get together in order to get a surgeon to give the person a surgery. that is the issue. no one has defined the actual problem in afghanistan. finally -- i don't want to take much of your time but that is we have to go back for those of us who been around for a little bit longer that what candidate was said in 1989 is that its economy is still no one that's it. >> are there any final comments?
>> i would agree with your premise and i think -- i don't want it to just be the economy but i think when you say the economy to president donnie he thanks the government economy and when he says it to me and when you say it's me i wanted to be a private-sector market led economy in afghanistan. that's the only way to build a sustainable growth. they can't continue a 2% growth. in order to absorb the workload, the workers coming in they need to be growing at six-8% every year and they won't hit that without the private-sector being the economic engine of afghanistan. so, everyone should focus on the private sectors solution and i would even posit that if you have progress with the taliban you need to talk about economic policy and jobs and how they can get integrated into a formal economy. that won't happen unless there's a private-sector there to hire people and to train farmers not
to grow coffee. >> i will end by saying that certainly the objective of the government in the donors is the right objective. private sector led growth and looking at this interim for the next be used targeting high-value exports into the region. the real question is the strategy and are the implementing the right ones to achieve them. that is obviously something that needs to be analyzed and discussed further. >> yeah, i would say at the end of the day, of course, there is no question that economic issues are ultimately what will determine the success of afghanistan. i think it is a question of sequencing and the experience i have had in much of the developing world for a 35 year career is that if you have a political compact and then have economic development it works better than if you try to foster
economic development without a political compact. >> just to add on that final process. we do have a framework and process that agreed for reviewing what progress is being made or not made in the economic area and the governance area. the problem is making it actually work and have peace and results. we haven't been so good in doing that. if we can do that over the next year or two in addition to working these other areas, i think, we can hopefully see some good progress. >> thank you for our panelist in the rich discussion we have had today and for all of you being here in your questions. this concludes the session. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
>> spans washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up saturday morning: the fund for religious liberties will discuss her groups role representing free texas churches for pursuing fema for harvey disaster relief fund. the transportation reporter, jacob fischler, will talk about it for structural reform in the congress and the upcoming deadline on to reauthorize the faa. the american forest foundation tom martin will join us to look at the role of the federal government in wildfire management. be sure to watch c-span's
washington journal live at seven eastern on saturday morning. join the discussion. >> monday night on "the communicators". mark jamison a visiting scholar at aei on net neutrality. he's interviewed by reuters telecom reporter david shepherdson. >> take, for example, fifth generation wireless. 5g. it is a technology that will start being rolled out next year and it will be a place for about a decade or so. it very specifically has built into it what they call places. each slice can be customized to a particular service or particular customer or a particular edge provider. whatever it might be. it is designed to do that. that violates that idea of same treatment. that throws neutrality out. >> watch the community heirs, monday night at eastern on c-span2.
>> with the 16th anniversary of the 911 terror attacks coming up monday the bipartisan policy center hosted a forum on the state of the us counterterrorism strategy. first we hear from house homeland security chair congressman michael mccall. >> welcome everyone. i'm with the bipartisan policy center and it is real pleasure to welcome a group of friends and experts to a conversation about a report that we are releasing today. defeating terrorist, not terrorism and assessing policy from 911 and isis. our goal here today is to take an unsparing look at the united states effort to confront and engage terrorism, for the last decade and a half. we are also seeking to engage a difficult question which is to