tv Discussion on a Taliban- Controlled Afghanistan CSPAN September 14, 2022 10:51pm-12:29am EDT
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u.s. policy towards afghanistan. and rebuilding the country after work. >> i should have introduced myself to begin with. my name is benjamin hopkins and the associate dizzying for academic affairs. also in my spare time a historian of modern afghanistan for this particular topic is near to my heart. we have an outstanding panel today that really does expand the breadth of experience both the professional and personal. we are going to hear from some afghans themselves whoho have policy and professional positions heree in washington as well as those working with afghan refugees here in the united states. as a historian, one of the things i always tried to correct a great misunderstanding with my students is that our interest is not in events but in processes. we talk about the fall of kabul a year ago, we are not so much talking about an event that is over, but a process that is
still playing out. indeed yesterday marked the 21st anniversary of the 911 9 attacks which a month later read to the american invasion of afghanistan. just months shy of 20 years after that invasion the u.s. withdrew from the country in a spectacular embolic chaotic form leading to the return to power of the taliban after 20 years. despite the subsequent silence of the american political class and seemingcl disinterest that withdrawal marked the end of neither the still ongoing global terror, or the suffering of the people of afghanistan. thousands of afghans remain in limbo around the world. waiting in camps or possible resettlement the u.s. for other western countries which in truth may never come. millions and afghanistan are trapped by repressive regime's
interests and abilities to govern our limited att best. there is situation is compounded by international community which is largely washed its proverbial hands of the issue. today's a panel including the voices of both afghans and those who have and continue to work with them, will provide insight into the ongoing process of the fall of kabul. giving their experiences and professional insights. as well as considering the accumulating cost of the war which most americans would like to forget. on today's panel we are joined by chris who unfortunately is not able to be here in person. chris we hope you're feeling better. we are glad to have you hear that today. if the president and ceo the lutheran immigration and refugee service. she previously served the obama white house is policy director for first lady michelleus obama.
in the state department's senior advisor under secretary of state hillary clinton and secretary of state john h kerry. while in government she worked on multiple issues and programs including those considered refugees in migration engagement with religious communities buried the legal dimension of foreign policy and regional issues relating to africa and the middle east. a graduate of yale university from which she has an ma she waa also a martial scholar at oxford university where she received internet relations. secondly have two my left is a a program manager for outreach at the observer research foundation america. he previously worked at the united states embassy in kabul for almost nine years where he served as an advisor on that u.s. afghanistan bilateral security agreement. as an embassy liaison with the
government of afghanistan. he played a key role in evacuating american citizens, green card holders more than 3000 locally employed staff and their families after the taliban takeover of kabul. in recognition of his services the u.s. department of state presented him with the hero is the award. he previously served in various capacities in the afghan government including work with independent election commissione in 2010 and with the permanent mission of afghanistan to the united nations in new york. and finally, a former deputy minister for commerce and industry of the previous and government of afghanistan joins the george washington university community is the elliott school of international affairs professor of international affairs last january. has broad government experience including service as a
commissioner on afghanistan's national civil service reform commission and prior to that as human resources director of the municipality of kabul. she is also country director a top strategic communications firm, giving her private sector experience. her expertise spans international trade and commerce, governance, economic development and reform, human capitol and strategic communication. also note both our fulbright alumni. each of our speakers will present for approximately ten -- 15 minutes of opening remarks. after which bill open it to questions from the floor for what i am sure will be a robust and interesting conversation. why don't i turn over towards first speaker joins us remotely. >> are wonderful. thank you so much professor. good morning everyone. it is really such a pleasure to at least be able to remote in.
i am dealing with a kindergartner has turned into a petri dish. sorry think she's exposed to i am. i'm nursing a cold and want to avoid getting anyone else sick. i've president and ceo of immigration and refugee service. also known as the irs. so for those of you who are not familiar with our organization. the irs is the largest national nonprofit dedicated to refugees. we are headquartered in baltimore a number of different settings you have probably heard it in my bio, i love school. it's always nice when i get a chance to come back to a more academic setting. and be able to participate in the foreign affairs speakers series. it's a really an opportunity to
be able to participate in this reflection after the fall of kabul and evacuation of 8000 afghans. so, looking back it was clear the afghan withdrawal would cause a humanitarian crisis. we urge the biden administration to put forth an evacuation plan that would meet our obligations with the afghans we promise to protect. tragically, i should say is such a plant was obviously the right thing to do. it would have provided and receiving communities with the opportunities to prepare for what was coming. we advocated for an evacuation model similar to what we had done in past wartime evacuations. including after the fall of saigon that would have transported afghans to a safe
location where cases could have been processed and they could have then applied to enter the u.s. safely through the settlement system. unfortunately, the biden administration chose a different route. which of course led to august 15, 2021. it was a terrifying day that upended the afghan world, separating people from their families and forcing them to flee for their lives with nextro to nothing. i have colleagues that will speak personally to that. like you in the audience, so many of us here in the u.s. watch the taliban takeover in shock.er the horrific images from the kabul airport will be seared into her memory forever. i'm certainly not a military expert i will not dive into the details of what should have been done or should not have been done in the war in afghanistan.
but what i know is the biden administration knew there were tens of thousands of afghans that would be at risk of retaliation from the taliban for their support of the u.s. missions.ca or because of their religion, profession, sexual orientation other vulnerabilities they willr be targeted. although the harriec evacuation brought many to safety, it left thousands of at risk afghans behind. well there is much more to do -- while there is so much more to do, the evacuation was a historic effort. a year later, there are still afghans supporting the u.s. mission who are in danger, not to mention those and other vulnerable activists and so many others. many of them protected us and in
turn we vowed to protect them so this is where we have a moral obligation. it has become virtually impossible but nevertheless the badministration must do everything in its power to ensure we give them status here in the u.s. we must also remember that of m, women and children -- both of thehealthcare system and the economy are at risk as well. to welcome every ally to reach our shore in this past year. there's an enormous outpouring ofav support from donors, veters
on both sides of the aisle. and americans who have stood up and opened their hearts and have given so much to us so i want to spend a few minutes talking about what it's looked like here at home. to lead the charge in advocacy resettlement and while the resettlement effort has faded from the headlines the truth is our work continues every day and this mission has been one of the most challenging and meaningful of our careers. we knew this wasn't going to be an easy but it was unquestionably made by the push
to the prior administration with more than 100 offices representing about a third of the national network. after those years of dismantlement even while the low have been admitted so the crisis in afghanistan certainly pushed the system to its limits. so offices who would welcome refugees lived hundreds within a matter of a few months and suddenly served seven times the number of refugees in the previous years.
it's mobilized with lightning speed to assist more than 13,500 afghans. our team secured housing for individuals and families. as americans we know as so many have experienced across the country.y. we and roll thousands of children in school. we post job fairs to help afghan workers take the first steps to self efficiency. we organize legal clinics, cultural orientation, financial literacycy classes, health workshops so we now have 80,000 afghan neighbors in communities
across the country and we know that our nation is stronger. they are resilient, eager to contribute and thanks to their arrival we have now seen about 60 new local sites open throughout the country and another remarkable effort has involved afghans helping. fellow afghans and you need look not too far from where you are today. we have an office where 100% of our staff are afghan. many recent arrivals themselves. the last year they have weathered with great tenacity and strength and many of them have spoken about the
transformative power of welcoming fellow afghans to the u.s. in sharing their own experience. stood up to serve for what is possible. with that said we must continue to advocate for solutions. finding status in the u.s. are among the top priorities. afghan workers, language barriers, lack of public transportation and unfamiliarity with the american hiring processes. struggling with skill matching for example those who were engineers by training find
themselves unable to work in their desired field because of the professional certification requirements and at the same time the employment aspect of the mission is a potential win-win scenario for our country you just have to look at the latest headline to know employers are at a nationwide shortage and they are eager to contribute so i say this everywhere i go if you are an american or business that wants to support the resettlement issue, one of the ways to contribute is simple, higher and afghan. i think there are -- i will wrap up by describing first the unification of families that were suffering because of the disorder of the evacuation and those that are moving on with their lives without their loved
ones. we must keep our promise to make these families whole again. clientsol have some family membs who were left behind and that is a major source of stress and e anxiety. they losear hope and it's hard o blame them because we see little progress in reuniting them. tens of thousands have been forced to live oceans apart and i think that highlights how this mission is far from over. the second is providing stability they would have had if they had been brought. we have been working with members of congress and urgently calling for the passage of the
adjustment act. it's the same fix that veterans and state leaders have been calling for sincee last year. to allow the opportunity to apply for permanent residency after the first year it would divert an unnecessary burden which i think many of us know is under the weight of a major case backlog and it would also be a background process that takes years. it'smp how we stand by those. it's a humanitarian imperative with overwhelming bipartisan
support. so many lives and for free nations reputation. with congress in session. [inaudible] we are looking for people to speak with other senators and representatives so if you want to get involved i would encourage you to reach out. let me end by saying congress has passed anddj adjustment actn every other authorization and that's true whether the vietnamese. [inaudible] as well as multiple generations. america went to war for 20 years,s, the longest war in the u.s. history and our departure, promises were made by presidents
of both parties and legislators on both sides of the aisle so it becomes more urgent every day. we believe it is critical to keep our promises and look to a future thatur all are protected andd welcome and i'm grateful. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. let's move to the first in person speaker. >> thank you for the opportunity. it's good to be here. a day after the anniversary of
9/11. i would like to start by saying as mentioned the job isis not done. .the moderator indicated the u.. is out of afghanistan but afghanistan is not out of the u.s. influence that the u.s. still must pay attention to what's's happening in terms of s broad objectives in the region. i would like to put historical context of what is happening with respect to u.s. involvement in afghanistan. since the primary objective during the 1990s was to get involved, support and make sure the soviet union was challenged
in afghanistan. that is significant involvement of the u.s. along with western countries and their allies of trying to achieve an objective, strategic objective in this region, that involvement that brought money, weapons led to a significant destruction that were established and built in that country for decades and led to the collapse. afghans fully jumped on board with supporting the involvement against the soviet union but what happenedri right after, the u.s. washed their hands of afghanistan as the collapse ofie
the soviet union and walked away and let afghans on their own demise. the walking away led to a civil war in that country. the involvement of the regional countries led to the destruction. migration and destruction so that was achieving an objective and washing away their hands saying we don't have any interest and despite the fact that there were voices in washington, d.c. and different capitals indicating it's important for the u.s. to stay engaged, nobody listened and the argument put forth was that we are watching things from overseas and we will dismantle anything that will arise and it
didey in fact during the taliban regime ine the 1990s, strikes and rockets. but did it succeed? ceit didn't and as you all witnessed what happened during 9/11 i would say was a failure on the part of the u.s. decision-makers at the time that didn't see the threats as they should have seen them athr the time. they thought they had the capability. however when al qaeda attacked the u.s. on 9/11 suddenly people realized afghanistan is important. why would you do that? it's not fair for the system or the people in afghanistan or americans. it's not the right way of dealing with a problem when you
understanding to see there is an issue, a problematic area that is going to come after you, you need to deal with it and it's time and then what we saw after 2001 we saw the massive involvement of the u.s., the all in approach. different systems, different agencies and then international communities, different players involved from 2001 trying to build a viable estate in afghanistan. i would say it wasn't a perfect approach but it was a positive constructive approach that led to significant achievements in the past 20 years in afghanistan. girls went to school, roads were built,g electricity came to people's houses. people started realizing they have the right to vote, elect their leaders. they have a say in their future, that there could be a positive
future.d i and a number of other afghans are the result of the u.s. involvement during the past two decades in afghanistan. we are a direct achievement of that despite its failures and despite its tactical errors from the beginning from 2001 when they were held to bring all to establish an afghan government and then the requests from the taliban rejected to make a deal involved in the process, that was the first tactical error and then afterwards not investing on the institutions of the government properly, not investing on the security institutions to be held until later years were trying to do piecemeal approach every country specifically not being coordinated enough, not taking
the views on f the ground into consideration. speaking with the warlords were bringing diaspora away for decades from afghanistan and gave all the keys of the administration into their hands and helping them make decisions that led to the fighting that undermine our democracy. all of those errors but at the same time there were significant achievements and at the end and the decision as to withdrawal it could have been done in a better and constructive way. there was an agreement with the afghan government bilateral security agreement that outlined how the u.s. forces could withdraw with giving a notification to the government within two years all the u.s. forces would withdraw. there was no need for the u.s. to negotiate with the taliban. there was no need whatsoever
about the only argument that was putng forth was we are going to utilize the withdrawal to speak with him to tell a man and hopefully they are can be peace but that doesn't happen because of the hasty decisions and the timelines and pressure to relieve 5,000 prisoners for no gains whatsoever on the hopes they would negotiate and then withdraw and then the collapse. now what's the strategy. what is the u.s. doing right now? as far as icy and as far as everyone is a witness, it is the same policy of the 1990s. we are going to deal with the move forward.
then we will kill every terrorist in afghanistan that is going to threaten the united states. that isn't possible.id it isn't then and now. that is in the nature of the threat. we have advanced technology and we have drones and surveillance systems, but the nature of the threat, the nature of the threat is complex. the type of networks they are operating at this day and age you cannot deal with it without having the resources on the ground to support the technology from afar and i would close my remarks saying the right way is not going in extremes. a middle ground approach, diplomatic approach to bring afghans to the table to try to make that piece. the piece promise work that would lead to having an
organized government in kabul that would allow the community to be present and to detect threats. thank you. [applause] thank you very much. we will move to the final speaker. >> thank you, professor. good morning to everyone. i'm very glad to be here. thank you for being present in this conversation. i just want to take a moment to thank you for everything that she and the organization have done in the past year and recently afghans who were evacuated to the united states. i and my family were one of them, but let me tell you there is not a single morning i wake up here questioning my presence here. i was at the airport and i had to make a decision to get onto
one of these flights for the safety of my sons and my family and i made that decision at that particular point in time but i don't regret it now. ofha course given what's happeng back there and most importantly nti think i made that decision because i knew i had to keep my voice and continue to advocate for the kids in afghanistan. so i'm happy i made that decision but again there isn't a single day that i wake up and i question my presence here in the u.s. and future of my career or profession here. as grateful as i am to the safety of myself and my family and also the great and meaningful opportunity that i have here that i get to turn my experience into a class and i'm happy to see somee of my studens here in the audience. it's been a very meaningful
experience for me so i think in alli of the logistics and membs of resettlement, the pressure of the evacuation and others let's not forget the human side of things. i think the human side of things, those that have been evacuated to the u.s. there are plenty like me who questioned questiontheir presence here evey morning and given the opportunity, i guarantee their lives are going to be safe and they will be back. if tomorrow i have a ticket that would take me back to kabul and guarantee my safety i would like to take that. but now here are a couple of things. sometimes the way my presence makes sense to me here is to look at it in terms of civil. i do think if i have a ticket tomorrow i would go back but am
i going to have a life of their especially as a woman? am i going toe? be able to use y expertise and be back in a decision-making position and have the type of impact i had in the past 20 years? that's a big question given what we have been observing since the return of the taliban to kabul. it's reduced the humanitarian case and humanitarian aid as essential as it is i have to remind you that by itself cannot alleviate the problem. there's also no quick solution to the problems. options are limited but one thing we need to keep in mind and also talked about is
stability and afghanistan will require a combination of political solutions plus humanitarian. i think that reducing to a humanitarian cause again as essential as it is has served the taliban because they don't have to do anything to make the economy work, to generate commercial activity, to generate money in the economy so people can have food on the table. in fact some of the conversations that weth have had with the former government back home the taliban seems to think putting food on the table is not their responsibility. it's the responsibility of the international community. now, that is understandable given the nature of how this group has been operating in the
past 20 years. after spending a lot of my career in government and before making sure institutions work and can deliver services to the public. i didn't expect the taliban to overnight take kabul and then think about the tasks like who's going to collect the garbage, who's going to provide electricity, how was the healthcare system going to work and i think these are some of the very important questions that we all unfortunately don't tend to ask about afghanistan. in a 21st century citizen of the world doesn't deserve to live under a regime like that of the taliban.
is that sinking in with everybody here? how often do we ask that question? i think for me i don't see myself as an achievement of the u.s. presence in fact i resend that. i resented when people would call a woman like me a gain of thece u.s. presence in afghanistan. if anything my presence here in the u.s. makes me feel like a reward of that war and the reason i wake up every morning and i don't, question my being here. i agree i do see myself as a part of the process. as a product of the engagement there, as a product of the sacrifices of my family who survived the many decades of the unfortunate wars in afghanistan and provideded me education
despite the barriers to my education back home and also equally as somebody that used the opportunities by the international presence i don't see myself as a direct outcome or reward of the u.s. presence in afghanistan and if anything i think going forward, it's important that we acknowledge some of the mistakes that were being made in the past. i agree with my colleagues at back in 21 after 9/11, the process of trying to create a government didn't try to take into account the experiences the country has with the war but also the voices of the afghans and expertise of the afghan who knew their country way better than anyone else.
so i think going forward for the taliban, the biggest dilemma is the purity of their ideology. something that's helped them win the war in afghanistan is actually now their biggest burden because that is something that served with their constituency and something that helped recruit soldiers and helped them win the war but now going forward if they are going to become lenient and back off from that and try to put together a more inclusive system of government they in all aspects of the society including the political oppositiont to be part of the system will make it tough for them to deal with the
constituencies. on the other hand, they are dealing with a postwar constituency.. i'm saying postwar because itays post war for them. the u.s. is out now. they were victorious. they are dealing with a postwar who've been educated and have used the opportunities provided to them. if our democracy didn't necessarily mirror that of the west but i think more and more spaces were created for people to push back against the state. i think i can tell you that everybody was pretty much very well m aware of those spaces and very careful of how the engagement went public so is
that democracy in a way i think yes it is but maybe we didn't necessarily have to call it democracy. maybe you didn't mirror the democracy, the version of democracy people have but i think the factct that the spaces were opened up, a critical debate happened. there was a form of checks and balance. i think it was a good reminder that some form of democracy will work in this country despite the conventional wisdom. the country is perhaps the values of the country doesn't work with democracy. in the past perhaps yes but the work has evolved in the 21st century so as a citizen of the 21st century does it deserve to
live under a regime like the taliban, the crisis that is e happening back home is the wot women's rights crisis on the planet right now with what these people are doing. sometimes i feel like i see them sitting on the same tables i used to sit and chair meetings. i see the rooms full of men who have no idea what they are doing. most of them perhaps don't even know how to read or write. they think the fancy office spaces came at no cost. we were trying to build those spaces as they were waging war against us. to make part of the work what i used to do, to have a face, to
have a dignified face that meant renovating an office spaces, having proper workspaces. now theyry get to sit in these fancy offices that we built at the cost of our lives because not a single day i've been guaranteed and in the past five years i was living out of an unmarked vehicle because i had a threat on my life but we continue to do it at the cost of our lives because we believed in and afghanistan that exists in the 21st century as any other country so i'm going to leave it there and i would be happy to respond to any questions. my focus when i engage on the case of afghanistan is to give an insight perspective and more importantly a perspective that
accounts for the agency of the afghan people and afghan person is a 21st century citizen who deserves to live in a dignified manner. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. i think we have an outstanding panel that really does cover the entire breath of the issues from the discussion about the resettlement of the afghan refugees to the personal experiences as well as the policies and professional perspectives on the continued situation in afghanistan. just some quick ground rules please raise your hand if you have any questions if it is to be directed at a single speaker indicate that and if you have any affiliation in places.
presidents, military leaders and others are taking credit that in the past 20 years there was no other attackhe on the united states directly. that was the primary reason was for the u.s. intelligence networks capabilities on the ground presence that was the primary reason and those capabilities are no longer present on the ground. the capabilities of today are the capabilities of the 1990s with some advancements maybe on technological grounds. however, the threat remains. it is and still the same threat. those seeking to harm the united states are still present. they are still around in that at
part of the region and their leader was killed in kabul despite the fact the president has stated in his remarks that there is no longer terrorist threats emanating from afghanistan and they are not diverted in other regions. he wasn't found in other regions, he was found in kabul and was killed and at this thise is also being used to tell the u.s. public we have capabilities to eliminate any threat emanating from that region but think about it. for how many years were you searching and trying to find this man? since 2001 all of the u.s. administration was trying to find this man. the resources existed, the capabilities, significant
resources, technological resources andd human resources were in pursuant of that man and eventually he was killed in kabul. that a similar technological resource and institutional resource are not pursuing every single terrorist in that region. there's not enough capability to do that and so the reason i'm stating is that 20 years involvement worked in preventing and making sure that the terrorists do not have the time to breathe and plan and network and try to have a base and think and plan and then conduct a strike on the west. however now with the lack of resources on the ground they are living in mansions right now. they are having bases in
helmand. they are openly moving around town, speaking and talking and they understand the u.s. is primarily relying on technology and so it's very easy to go silent. it'so very easy to plan and coordinate until the last moment and they can easily do that. that's the nature of threat and the threatand the only way thatt threat could be eliminated is to have significant human resources on the ground. local resources on the ground, reliable partners on the ground, afghans who speak the language who are your allies who would fight and track these elements. the only way to do that is to have a diplomatic presence on the ground because you can't have intelligence presence diplomatic presence and the only way to have a diplomatic presence on the
ground is to have a legitimate recognized government on the ground so the only way to have a legitimateed recognized governmt is for the international community to bring the afghan stakeholders together along with the taliban to agree on the government on a post settlement government, the same government that was envisioned in the agreement fell out of the u.s. that is my recommendation. >> i would like to quickly answer the first question. i think i agree with everything said but i also think 20 years has been long enough for the u.s. to build the intelligence infrastructure. everything is digitized now i'm pretty sure the u.s. with their 20 years of presence in
afghanistan perhaps has a map of each street at this point. these are the things i think and that's something i believe the u.s. intelligence community banked on when they decided to get out of afghanistan. it might work but i think a mistake that is happening is that when the u.s. started negotiating with the taliban the u.s. essentially they are going to serve as their counterterrorism partners and the problem is you have to see them for who they are. do you think just by chance they took overok a country in a mattr of only a few weeks? they have connections modeling in the region but with others
terror networks globally. and they have to be seen for who they are. i think to count on them to think of them as a rational actor and then count on them as a partner for counterterrorism especially given they've proved their incompetence on all fronts not only security that seems to be their area of expertise so i think banking on the violent expertise and then rationalizing it as counterterrorismto allieso me doesn't make sense. that's where the problem lies and that's what needs to be more
critical because the people who currently justify one of the reasons they bring there's too many of those especially working with different think tanks that have been critical because i think they werek part of pushig the narratives they did during the negotiations that brought us to where we are into the same observers and think tankers and dc-based continued to push some of these narratives. and i think that's a grave mistake. on the question of political identity it can be traced back and an account of the majority
backed by the u.s. and its and d they were fighting among themselves and that's where out of a this crisis the taliban was born. for the religious ideology i don't think it isn't necessarily a political entity right when they started off but clearly during the negotiations managed to turn them into a political party.
many of them have been raised across the border and during those early years in the 1990s when for the first time afghans hadim to become refugees because of the intensity of the war. so yeah if that answers the question to an extent we do consider themselves unfortunately as part of our political reality. when you fight for 20 years but then to make a point i think they have made their point. where they need to change things is more realities in the country that deserves to be a part of the political process.
work and a number of other refugee agencies. despite the fact the u.s. administration, their priority of getting, the u.s. service members out of the harm's way is a good approach that was positive i think in my perspective. but that process could have been managed. in my assessment i think the u.s. public, those who've been involved in whose sons and daughters have served in afghanistan and who have had their family members in afghanistan and were invested, members of media think tank. george washington university and
a number of others have been involved. i would like to say we are grateful for this attention despite the fact on the policy level those like ukraine and taiwan and others the people are engaged and trying to make sure that the u.s. public have invested and diplomats have invested that 20 years of investment do not go to waste and we do not see a repeat of what we saw in 9/11 and i would encourage everyone to stay involved and keep engaging on that. the act is a very critical and
being upheld by the biden administration and the bipartisan feel on the way things should go in afghanistan and i totally understand and support that policy decision. a transfer from one to another could have been managed well but there are sudden changes in the political leadership and a sudden fear that maybe if they change the process it would lead to some servicemembers losing their lives andsi no one would want to take that responsibility and lead tosi the decisions that it did. >> i think a couple of points that i would add, first we saw
shouldn't view this as zero-sum but it's played out in concrete terms so they've been admitted and what we've seen is both afghans and ukrainians have accepted but only about 8,000 of those have been adjudicated in a jaw-dropping 96% manning 400, a little less than that have been admitted to the u.s. so this is where i think it is critically
the progress, something i always like to speak about is the continued presence of females on the streets in afghanistan, demanding rights. that doesn't get any coverage here in the united states. it doesn't get media coverage because the society, the image of an afghan woman. in fact i've come across multiple times people ask me are you a real afghan, you don't wear a scarf and you speak english. what's your story and i tell them if you expect me to come from a background where my husband ande my dad were beatig me and i overcome that and here i am i don't have a story
because unfortunately, the image, the only way that the world knows to engage with the afghans is the language of. [inaudible] and i've made it my personal message delete commission to challenge that. the fact that you're asking this question which is very important and i'm glad you asked it means it still exists, the afghan society is not compatible with the values of the universal values of human rights of the century. we question what we mean by a democracy. freedom for me there was a lot
around when the americans were talking with of attack man and in that process i earlier talked about the think tanks that use to call a woman like me and urban afghan woman that doesn't represent the women of afghanistan and these were narratives that came out and found its way to the peace process. so essentially a little bit of the leverage that we were pushing concession lines so the rights were not being entirely taken awaybe from us were erased from the process saying these concessions are an afghan woman that doesn't represent the real afghan woman. and this came out of dc. this came from a couple of think
tankers and then of course the government in other parts to our other allies and it kind of snowballed. and i think some of these narratives were extremely damaging to what we were trying to pursue back home. it is a traditional society and has been affected by 50 years of conflict. women and children always remain vulnerable. it's in a way that would protect tithe rights so there's a lot of challenges. would you think it would be easy for me to emerge out of nowhere, no. it was a daily struggle. i used to tell my parents, but
you see what i'm saying that on a daily basis i had to push us many social boundaries. an ecosystem established that made it easy to not demand freedom and rights. the progress that we saw his people were demanding. people suddenly saw the spaces they could demand. people use to say a woman might not want to go toho school and i would tell them okay that also means we are not going to make
that available in that province because some other woman might want to go so if one doesn't want to go to school which is unfortunate and it self and a product of what we've come to as a country instead of pushing those opportunities we are saying one doesn't want to go so let's not have a school altogether. they say democracy doesn't look and sitting across tables where the first ten minutes people challenged my authority and it didn't really see me observing of that role butn then coming o a place where i fought my way through it and i'm too used to being a boss and i can't go back from it.
[laughter] and i saw that it's possible. i call it my stubborn hope for afghanistan and what keeps me holding onto that hope is the fact that i saw it's possible. >> may be we can collect some questions. i am a fellow here at the elliott school. we are grateful to have the professor here with us. also i just want to thank the
>> i will not abuse my position as moderator. i will make a comment. i will start by saying this is a war who continued into something that neither american society or the afghan society has come toue grips with and that is the cost of the war. the inflation-adjusted it's unpaid for a. of 96% of it as debt financing and there were data that we think about 600,000 american troops over 20 years among the shortest rotations to the combat in american history. that means about .2% has been directly exposed. it's intentional that it remains
and can be forgotten. most of the debt wasn't of u.s. military personnel but rather contractors. it's about the war because private enterprise and private violence doesn't have the public accountability to it that would be something we've seen in past examples. so to say there's this kind of contextual point that reiterates what our other panelists have said. andou also to give a shout out, the like-minded organizations have done and continue to do amazing work that in the past the u.s. government has fully partnered on as she continues to call out the passage we are in a
situation where there is a collective amnesia and intentional one. if you say policy circles it's like having a permanent scarlet letter on your back. mypo apologies and i will turn this over to the others. >> the u.s. is trying to get vindicated with the hopes to cooperate and the same promises they had that allowed the troops to withdraw they are trying to find a way so that they can ensure the partners. that's not going to happen for
obvious reasons for how the group is operating and where they stand inor terms of their whole agenda despite the fact that they stated in the document that they would cooperate so now there's no incentive for those who believe the same way that they do a group that is in charge you wouldn't have anybody on the ground to monitor that into the government is trying to figure out a mechanism where it's going to happen from afar how would you keep a group inside of the country being
accountable for something while you're not even present to sit on theha other side of the table to keep them accountable to what they are going to promise in the otsecond, they didn't fulfill their promise that they are going to negotiate with other afghans. if they are not committed in fulfilling their commitments to speak with their own afghans were muslims that have different viewpoints they just want women to be part of the government and to have other groups being presented in the government and have a say in where the country will move forward, why would we have hope that they would be speaking any sort of commitment they are going to have so that's not going to happen. so as things stand is we have a government in kabul as acting
government where nobody recognizes them. the whole world is not recognizing that group was in of the country for the past 20 years. there are 30 or 40 million afghans in the country and thousands of others abroad with no future whatsoever in limbo while the whole world is just sitting looking at this group saying we are not going to recognize this. there aree? other afghans willig to fight that group, the resistance. we are not going to support them either. don't support conflict or those who fight the group. so then what are you going to do just sit by and watch people not go to school and more years go on and have girls, women, men not have access to medical resources, not have men, women, children access to food, not
have a future whatsoever? what is the alternative? people say we don't have any incentive. we don't have any means to picture the telegram to come to the negotiating table with other afghans. i would say you do. there is resources and means available for the u.s. to pressure taliban had a couple to come to the negotiating table with other afghans. and the only way that you can have that means is engaging those outside of the country. a significant number, civil society, women leaders, young leaders, hundreds and thousands of them all over the united and europe and different places engaged and get their views on what could be the future for the country by engaging them you will create
leverage because that is the status of the situation in afghanistan is that when the foreign governments start engaging abroad no matter who is in kabul or in the palace, they would feel insecure and come rushing out of running towards the foreign interlocutors of what's going on to work on a mechanism to replace and that is the way to make them stick with and negotiate, agree on a political framework that all afghans can be represented, women can be represented and be a legitimate recognized government to hold the international rules and be a responsible member of the community. >> i think we have time for one final question. this gentle man up front. if we can put those two
ascended the afghan refugee crisis and you answered that already. most gave up the numbers and i wondered if you had a further analysis of why that's the case why they are coming in at a much higher rate. i could imagine. if i can give each of the panelists a moment to respond why don't we go in reverse order. >> if we haven't made you confused enough i just want to say the case is a complicated case and i think the issue of politicalli legitimacy back home is important.
i started to saying this should be acknowledged there should be sa political solution to this d not economic and humanitarian alone by himself. thee question of political legitimacy also remains awake. the problem to that is we as a country are anal artificial construct. weat are not a natural born stae and in order to go into that that'sol a whole issue and the challenge of legitimacy has one we have been dealing with for a long time and i think even today again we are at the same point where there is a challenge of political legitimacy. let's mention some of the ways to engage others should be
pushed and acknowledging all others. one thing that has remained throughout the history is that whenever the question of political legitimacy arises, we outsourceti it. i do not notice when i engage about the issue i don't ask for the international community's help anymore because i was too deeply involved in it tooo understandnd some of what we are suffering with is the traces of the international community. i am trying to think of it more as what we should do on our part to try to find a solution for pthis problem that we encounter every 20 years or every other decade. we didn't have political legitimacy. there was a vacuum of power. we tried to solve it by electing a government supported by the
americans. again, legitimacy outsourced. and now if anything i call for responsible engagement so it doesn't hurt. i think the solution remains and that could also be my concluding remarks. the way forward is to figure out a solution to the question of the political legitimacy because it has been haunting us for a long time. supported because that is what happened the moment of the americans started talking with a the taliban he lost his political legitimacy because his entire legitimacy was defined by the support so we are going to have another international community back to government. i'm going to guarantee ten years
down the line is going to collapse again so this requires a more critical look and if anything the international committee should continue to play the rolety but in a responsible way. i think they should pack up and leave because they continue to pack further problems. there is resistance oner the ground and if anybody deserves to be confronted on much better occasions i've been asked and
the session is informative and my meaningful class that i teach here is contributing to this but if anyone has the right to be consulted on how the country should move forward there's leaders on the ground who stayed there and continue to push i'm going toth end it there. i hope everybody was able to takeke something away from this session. >> i tend to differ and i think that given where we are located it's the course of geography that the institutions no matter what the stage of time and history you look at it has been
prone to collapse when foreign powers evolved for their own interest and we have no say whatsoever on that game of chess that have been played among the powerful players and so any that you see from the community it depends where thegh situation is when we had four years of stability we had a systemar that is progressive and trying to moveve and nobody pays attentio. no powers are engaged on their own and so we have a period of stability that serves the people of afghanistan but however, a reverse of that happens when suddenly taliban is in charge and then they disengage among themselves but afghans for six years suffer. right now we are seeing a similar situation withmi the lak
of international engagement which is negatively affecting the people of afghanistan because there is no means whatsoever protesting on the streets in kabul to change what's happening against a group of extremists and ready to shoot at anybody who's disrespecting them or their leader. for them to have a future is for the community to support them and the only way that would happen is if opening up the political pathway for them to have a say to be involved and i do agree to just fix and the stakeholders to bring afghans together. what we had in terms of
engagement the past 20 years was very constructive and the tactical error the beginningng when they didn't involve the tele- band that should be maybe the u.s. could take the lead it doesn't matter which country takes the lead. the countries in the region do not have the capability or the will. the chinese are only w interestd in economic means out of afghanistan. un is interested in some ethnic whatever religious interest but thatthey have. the pakistanis want afghanistan to be a central. so led by the united states unless they take the lead, nobody does anything in the region for the sake of afghanistan. we are cursed and that part of the world. the only saviors or the west and u.s. who've been involved in the past 20 years given the opportunity for a the people of afghanistan to see a better life. if they could do the same thing
without the need to put the service members on the ground. just diplomatic resources trying to organize to speak with themselves in a resolved issue. >> we've had about 80,000 afghans in the past year or so compared to 100,000. so your question is why the difference, only about 6,000 have been admitted to the u.s. through the special immigrant visa and refugee program and that's considered the quickest
mechanism but hass i said the denial rate i think is obviously where we've seen if you take the timeme span 60,000 ukrainians at the forefront and obviously i think one reason is president biden made a commitment to 100,000 refugees so that was a commitment that needed to be met. the administration hasn't made a similar commitment since the evacuation and there've been other priorities in the administration's minds that have made the settlement effort. then a lot of critics would say
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