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tv   U.S.- Taliban Peace Process Discussion  CSPAN  September 21, 2019 1:56am-4:00am EDT

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remarkable organization. it had its own flag and fleet. it negotiated what it may call treaties. its leader enjoyed informal diplomatic immunity and traveled freely through enemy lines. probably the only american citizen permitted to do so during the war. >> explore the past on american history tv. every weekend. now the u.s. institute of peace host a discussion on where the taliban peace process stands and sustainable talks in the future. the afghan ambassador delivered the keynote remarks followed by a panel discussion with academics and administration officials. is about two hours.
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we will get started. my name is andrew wilder, i am the vice resident. i am delighted to welcome you to the important and timely event. as many of you know, we were founded 35 years ago by members of congress as an independent and nonpartisan national institute, charged with the mission of preventing, mitigating and resolving violent conflict. today's topic is near and dear to you sip. we have had an office since 2002 and worked closely with the government, civil society organization and others to address underlying causes of instability and violence. support to the process is a top priority. we have dedicated considerable
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effort over the last two years to some research, dialogue, skill building and policy analysis, both in washington and afghanistan and. throughout our efforts, we have held fast to the conviction that were a peace process to be sustainable, it must be inclusive. we recently held a workshop in istanbul with top women negotiators from afghanistan who had mostly participated in various components of the peace negotiations, including many that joined the first dialogue a couple of months ago. >> it has been a turbulent week in washington. to say the least. a week ago, many of us anticipated there would be a usn taliban agreement between the u.s. and taliban which would initially be the topic of today's discussion. that is now uncertain. while the talks have been ended
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, for the time being, the urgency of finding a way to reduce violence and achieve a settlement of the conflict, remains. the taliban and government, backed by the u.s. and nato, are in a stalemate. other groups like isis and al qaeda retain holes in afghanistan and afghans continue to suffer greater casualties. the need for peace is palpable. whatever path lies ahead, we know the way forward must provide lasting security and perverse gains earned by the people of afghanistan. we have an exceptionally well- qualified group of people to discuss where things stand in the process and help illuminate a complex situation and identify possible ways forward, and including the ambassador to the united states, welcome. distinguished panel of experts, including the chairwoman of the
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independent human rights commission will be joining us by video link. our director of afghanistan central asia programs cost got word and will moderate the discussion and take questions. i encourage you all to follow the conversation on twitter at you sip with today's hashtag. during the q&a, we will also take questions via twitter. i also encourage you to check out the new podcast network. it will include this event and many other programs, featuring leading voices and conflict prevention the national security. before we begin, i have the pleasure of inviting ambassador
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ramani to the stage for opening remarks. she became the first woman ambassador to the united states in december of last year and quickly became a friend of you sip. not only has she been a fierce advocate for the women, her own story exemplifies the resilience and perseverance of the people. like millions of others, she and her family lived as refugees in pakistan during adolescence in the 1990s. she attended a school for refugees and when the classrooms overflowed, she studied on the roof for a year. she went on to earn a bachelors in software engineering and worked for a number of nonprofits, focused on human rights and received a masters in public administration and international law from columbia. she has worked in the education ministry, ministry of foreign affairs and served as the
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ambassador to indonesia and all the on. please try me in welcoming ambassador ramani. gess, mrs. lemberg, mr. languor, distinguished panelists, friends and colleagues, good morning to all of you. me peace be upon you, it is a pleasure to be here at the institute of peace. speaking about the prospects of peace in afghanistan. the people have been speaking about peace for a long time. we have yearned for it. planned for it and fought for
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it. the type of commitment that comes from knowing, what it is like to live without it. beginning with the rollout of the seven-point agenda during the process in 2017 which was followed by a historic cease- fire. the first in 40 years. the people of afghanistan and their representatives have been eager to engage in a meaningful peace process. since 2017, we have continued to engage the global community and our regional partners on this issue to numerous platforms. fortunately, we have made efforts to engage with our neighbors to ensure that the
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region is mobilized and ready to sit or in this plan that we have. despite challenges, our progress toward peace has maintained momentum. in the past spring, i attended a consultative grand council in kabul, along with 3200 delegate from across afghanistan who came together to lend their voice to the peace process. one of the things that struck me was the practicality with which the afghans approached the idea of peace. people came from provinces, not with abstract ideas. but with clear agenda. a precise amount for building a prosperous future. among the request forward to
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the president was the institute of geology, to support the --. better roads to increase connectivity all over. my experience really confirmed something that i already knew. piece is in an abstract concept for afghan. is a tangible goal. it is grounded in three critical foundation. democracy, economic prosperity and security. allow me to explain a bit about what i mean. democracy, peace building. the kind that brings about long- term peace and stability, required consensus and wide spread popular --.
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this can only be accomplished among populations that is involved in seeing the terms of the agreement that they will ultimately be responsible for enforcing it. we have worked hard to create the environment where this level of civic engagement is possible. we have seen so much progress. when young people today critique the administration for shortcomings and demand better, i see it as a measure of how far we have come. our citizens have come to expect democracy. they are holding us accountable and learning to trust the democratic assesses. the government has remained focused on improving government and strengthening the
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democratic institution in afghanistan, despite the political cost. their fight against the corruption and impunity which had eaten away at our foundations. we are bringing needed reform to the justice sector. we are delivering critical services like education and healthcare. as we work to regain the trust of the people. the progress has been clear. is safeguarded by the maintenance of constitutional order. last october, despite overwhelming odds and vocal detractors, we held successful and peaceful parliamentary election. today we have a setting and
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functioning parliament. although not perfect, it is able to fulfill its function. we must continue to build stability and support the continuity of the democratic processes to the election that are scheduled for later this month. this is a priority. if we want to succeed in creating peace in afghanistan, we must pay attention to this. at this juncture, we must plastic the trust in the young democracy and showing citizens that their contributions matter and voices will not be ignored. politics do not happen in a vacuum.
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we know that neither peace deal nor elections are enough to guarantee long-lasting peace. understanding the relationship between economic growth and peace is crucial to the success of any process. what we have learned in afghanistan, following generations of conflict and now decades of hard work is the popular by annette all- important, the keeps people focused on keeping a peaceful future despite difficulty and setbacks is sustained by a single critical sentiment. hope. we also know that hope or the belief that a better future will come out of all the blood and sweat and tears.
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that must be poured into making peace a reality is directly linked to opportunity. afghanistan is the youngest country outside of africa. 68% of afghans are under the age of 25. in the years since the american intervention, this generation has come of age with aspirations that those that came before them never were to reach for. we want education jobs and the ability to connect to the world. the vision that they hold the future opportunity is the most effective insurance that we have against hopelessness and violence and terror. sustaining this hope, by ensuring that our people continue to have opportunities has been a priority for the
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government and is a key pillar of our plan and reform and. it is a goal that i know we share with our international and regional partners who also want to see afghanistan safe and self-reliant. we have made progress on these goals in a number of ways, from extending regional opportunities to supporting advancement. as an example, a few days ago, the first shipment carrying 41 -- and 1100 tons of powder, departed for china via drastic. the cargo will arrive at the destination, after a 12 day journey. we are prioritizing the future prospects of young citizens by
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ensuring that doing business in afghanistan is getting easier every day. we have undertaken reform to incentivize investments, including strengthening management of public finances. the 2018 budget is the first transparent in the country's history. meets international standards and is the primary tool for policymaking and prioritization. finally, we have introduced many laws, including the public- private partnership law and a new company flaw and new insolvency law and new mining law. as a result of these efforts, afghanistan was named one of the top 10 doing business indicator of improvers in 2018. based on the merit of the many projects we are implementing, they have agreed that afghanistan can begin drastic.
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our plan for self-reliant are achievable and within reach. in the past four years, we have seen a 90% increase in our accumulative revenue. currently we are able to pay for 50% of our expenses. every year, we would like to cut down 10% expenditures and increase 10% of revenue, based on this plan even allowing for challenges, we can ask to be -- with 3-5 years. this is a solid starting point for peace. we are extremely grateful for our partner who have invested so much in getting us here. now we must embrace the challenge. is a group of
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businessmen that i met during the last trip, this last week who told me, we are no longer putting our hands out. instead, we are reaching for partnership opportunities and the infrastructure to support sustainable economic growth. in our quest for long-term prosperity, we are laying the groundwork for sustainable peace. scenic last but not least, security. a study of over 33 agreements has confirmed that a cease-fire in -- is a critical first step in any process. it is not hard to see why this is particularly relevant. i have just returned from two
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weeks in afghanistan. there were 347 casualties. over 127 of them were civilians. the frustration and sadness that president trump expressed last week is shared deeply by afghan citizens. it is impossible to begin the process of rebuilding trust under these conditions. the taliban is not the only -- we face. in addition to the --, the taliban does not control, we are also engaged in a war against the narcotics industry whose finger stretch across the ocean. because of this reality,
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the people of afghanistan are well aware that needed security and peace can be delivered by anyone group alone. we are so grateful for the support we have received, particularly from american partners and shared efforts. these groups pose not only to afghans but the entire world. thanks to the support and bravery, we have made steady progress. the security forces have been defeating every wave of intensified attacks since the beginning of the year. i want to conclude by saying, although progress is not always easy to see, we have made
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significant strides in laying the groundwork for peace. for the first time in generation , we have the vision, the will and human capital necessary to achieve goals. we know pieces on the horizon. we also know it will come on our terms. the kind of peace that the afghans envision is aligned with the counterterrorism effort that the united states wants to see. the prosperous peaceful society that we are working to build will not only bring security to afghanistan, it is the best insurance that the world could have against the global threat of terrorism. as franklin roosevelt once said, freedom cannot be bestowed, it
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must be achieved. i believe this also applies to peace. with the dedication and support of partners, we can achieve it. inc. you.
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i am the director of the programs with the institute of peace. >> is the microphone on came >> i will project my voice until it is on. i am scott worden, the director for the afghanistan and central asia programs at u.s. ip. >> that will not work, it is televised.
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i am scott worden, the director of afghanistan and central asia programs for the united states institute of peace. thank you for those wonderful opening remarks. we are pleased to have a distinguished panel to discuss further, the issue of the peace process. for the afghanistan audience copies will be well known. joining us behind me is akbar, she is the chairperson of the afghanistan independent human rights commission. not just as a human rights activist but a civil society leader and government official, she recently served as a deputy on the national security council for afghanistan and if she was the leader of the open society afghanistan ngo. she will be speaking first. i'm also joined by michael sample on the right, a professor at the queens university in belfast, the mitchell institute answers is the director of the mitchell institute for global peace, security and justice.
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he has worked in roles with the united nations and -- in afghanistan and served as the deputy for several years of the european union special representative's office. also, to the left is dr. ruben, a senior and associate director for the center for international cooperation at new york university. is a longtime afghanistan scholar. he served as advisor to the state department. he also advised the united nations, including the bond peace process. then to my right is laura miller, she is the asia director at the international crisis group. prior to that, she was the acting special representative for afghanistan and pakistan with the state department and has worked in positions at rand and u.s. ip. thank you for joining us. it is late in the day.
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when we sent out the invitations, we were expecting to talk about the impact of a u.s. taliban agreement. now that is suspended. really, that agreement, if it was to occur it is just the first act of what will be a long and difficult process. the true hurdle lies in afghan to afghan negotiations, including with the talib man, the government and other elements of society. for this panel, i asked the speakers to speak from the different perspectives. what lies ahead? how do we address the most fundamental issues of inter- afghan negotiations and ultimately getting to a cease- fire and lasting peace. without further ado, the floor is yours. good morning, i am honored to be part of the panel. i speak about the reactions to
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the announcement. then we talk about what lies ahead. the actions, about --, there were a lot of positive reaction. the process is not moving forward in a way that it should. also about the lack of involvement that had --. also applications for future. there was also responses and highlights of the concern. after the announcement, my mom was asking if it means the war will go on for much longer.
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there was also responses about the implications. particularly for --. there are responses that haven't probably been dusted. but the ambivalence, many watching, closely and have concerns. concerned about the way the taliban were being received by international community. also for the previous human rights --, as well as their own arrogance about engaging. also about the vision for the
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future. there were concerns. that doesn't mean, there isn't a growing consensus about the need. one of the things was the growing consensus about the needs for -- and negotiations. i think moving forward, from the reactions, there is a series of messages for all
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stakeholders. pretties governments and international partners, the positive --, should illustrate the --. about what. they are very concerned about how the taliban and the leverage and consequence of it happening in the way it were. i think moving forward, if and when, there are lessons about the action and building a more confidence. what it could mean for the stick.
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we cannot really have a peaceful outcome if the majority of the population --. that came out in the reactions. it is an opportunity for the government to regroup and think about plastic. ownership comes with responsibility. it also requires consensusbuilding and taking leadership and ownership. is a citizen, i am concerned about preparedness and cohesion. many are concerned about this.
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this is the time for plastic. and through preparing banter for the dialogue. for when it happened. the sense that many had from tox was giving more more arrogant. less and less interested in engaging. also the worldview and my colleague with the name was.
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not from urban community. and asked specifically, i am quoting their words. not mine. that is a lot of feelings of anger, fear and --. in the process, they came to a point each with feeling that could put them in a position
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that includes their own view. they are interested in long- term peace. maybe they need to engage with plastic. they have to put down, they better start building relationships now. in terms of the message, for advocating for peace. they also have to work on the lines. needing to work harder to ensure the alliance is strong
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. also with diverse groups. one thing is important, in this process, we believe we need to pay attention and think deeply about other things. others that achieve lasting peace. how we will not have peace, i would be happy to answer questions. >> we will hear presentations before opening for questions.
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hello everyone. i hope i don't apprise you by saying, i am perhaps more optimistic for the prospect of peace in afghanistan that i was a week ago. i think we shall see progress toward peace in afghanistan, in large part for the reasons that they have explained. fundamentally, afghans have reached the conclusion that the war has run its course and it is time to find a way out. there is a desire for peace and i believe it will be fulfilled. the crazy way things have receded over the past week or two. there now maybe even better prospect for the process. >> i am also glad that the
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ambassador mentioned at the start, the cease-fire of june 2008 pain. it is a good part to reflect. there was an event in the days leading up to that. we should have a vision. we saw scenes from almost every province where within days of announcement by the president, which he called for a unilateral cessation, the taliban were bound into following suit. we saw crazy and chaotic classic, good spirited but not controlled by anybody youngsters who had been in the mountains, coming into town. the interior minister in the streets taking selfie's with
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pallet bands that wanted out. in a sense, the challenge is to recapture the spirit of that and turn it into a reality so that it is forever. wincing a good point to start thinking, there are right and wrong lessons you can draw from that. one of the right lessons is the desire for peace cuts across the conflict. it is amongst the talib and and the afghans that live in government controlled areas. one of the wrong lessons that people drew was a half, the taliban command-and-control system is supreme. it was the order from the --
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that was sufficient to bring about the scenes. that i know has been used by some people. then if we only talk to the same leadership and persuade them to come on board with more of a peace process, everything will be fine. when we followed in detail what was going on, the taliban fighters who came into town and went on facebook and so on, they use the cover, the order which had come through. the process was well beyond the ability of leadership to control and much of it was in defiant of the instructions from the commanders. id 2, we had commanders who were screaming and saying, we
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told you to stop, not to go and make friends. it was a subversive cease-fire. in a strange way, the progress to peace is more likely to involve a subversive element rather than sanction coming from the top. i was asked to say, how did they see the current situation and the deal and development around the suspension or collapse. >> in a sense, part of the good news is many of the talib and are just as confused as people in the city about what just happened. sometimes confusion is good. out of the confusion can come a new way forward. lysate is better is barney and i
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have worked hard on this case for many years. i was thinking of how to explain to millennials how long we have been working on this. the first time that professor ruben and i sat down to do a quiet discussion about what the way forward is, he had in his hand, the first digital device. i was looking at it enviously. that is how long. it was a palm pilot. it was so cool. i was impressed. was also the era when received brought out his first book on the taliban. in a slightly deluded young man in the 9/11 days, asked me, he said can you tell me how i can join? i didn't. >> the leadership has been
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confused because they thought they knew what was going on. they were trying to work out what was happening. the run-up to that, throughout the year of this process, the leadership avoided explaining to the membership of the movement, what was anticipated for this process. in direct contrast to other processes. i followed the irish process. they spent years and months, wringing their side on board. the taliban didn't take the trouble to talk to memberships. when they started to talk to the membership about the deal, the only message was the
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negotiations are continuation of the jihad trust and negotiators. everything they do serves the course. they pivoted to save this deal achieves everything we ever stood for. signing the deal is a guarantee of the restoration. without many details to back it up, they avoided giving those details. for those of us that spend time trying to understand and ask lane, that was highly problematic. unless someone finds a way to revive this, we never know what they intended. they certainly were not honest with membership. i was asked to say if they took seriously copy enter afghans talks and ideas of some kind of compromise or political
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solution, that is something they certainly didn't share with the membership. people knew there was a movement toward enter afghans talks but certainly no clear understanding inside the movement of what would happen there. and no preparation toward compromise and move toward and enter afghans settlement, as opposed to talks. i will say, along with this oversold message, broadly across the movement, there is something which was actually starting to play to the spirit of june 2018. a majority of talib and thought that perhaps there was a move toward peace, although they were not told honestly about how that could be and perhaps leaders didn't intend to do it. along with the confusion, there has been this up ointment. i had communicated, people on the taliban side that thought
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the war was about to end. they are deeply disappointed. they're told, back to the grind stone. and trying to make sense of how the talib and see it, we have to make a distinction between how this is a team and how the rest of the movement, it. in my research, there are fundamental divergences. highly politicized and well disciplined team has grown up but really got behind the process. some of them have become professional diplomats and got good at the job. there goodbye there it is to corrupt or intimidate or bamboozle, for friends where they target pretty hard while you are there. they are completely separate from the people who were there in afghanistan.
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thing we are the political front of her broad struggle. the rest is the military front. was also asked to say, are there differences inside the movement of subversive talk versus fight. i have been approached by many taliban whom i believe in their commitment to ending the war this perpetual question is when is anyone going to talk with us. why do you always end up building up the hardliners. they are sort of talking back to the spirit of the cease-fire. it was a subversive element which allowed it to succeed for a while or at least show the road whereas we've never been able to engage the support of peacemaking over the past year. we have adequate evidence that
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significant factions and numbers inside the taliban movement have also reached the conclusion that the war has run it course and must end. many of also reached the conclusion based on compromise rather than conquest. the challenge will be how to capture that spirit. the worst thing the fans of afghanistan could do would be to try and pick up from where we left off, immediately before the strange thing that happened last week. it should be building on what has been achieved rather than picking up pieces. i that, they should declare mission successful or succeeded. a huge effort has gone into it. it established that the u.s. wants to move troops out of afghanistan but do it responsibly. protecting the peace and
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security. the conversation has been had. everybody knows it. the u.s. is not occupying afghanistan. the one out as soon as it is safe to do so. any further conversations, the conversation should be with the ministry of defense and the chief of army staff. is how the redeployments of troops can be done in a safe way. the agenda on peace is how to jump forward toward supporting the emergence of an afghans settlement. we don't need to return to the foreigners talking with the talib and. there have been important conversations. no important to jump ahead to that which was supposed to be achieved. the worst thing we could do would be go to cutter and carry on with the conversations and re-empower the people that did
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get to arrogant. let them reflect for a while. let people think about what happened and how they overplayed their hand. open up the conversation to all possible addresses to the taliban that were prepared to get involved in peace and the touchstone is as the ambassador correctly pointed cut toward ending violence and ending the killing of afghans. that is the passport to talking and being part of the process. there is sufficient buy-in on all five in the afghan war to be able to proceed on that basis. creative thinking and learning lessons from the past and moving forward, rather than back , we will get there. afghans want peace and will achieve it. thank you very much, we will see whether mission success is trending after this panel. thank you for that reminiscence.
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before i go on, i want to thank the ambassador and -- for their excellent statements. i recalled the first time i gave a public talk about afghanistan in washington, dc which as i recall, was a meeting that i organized 35 years ago, at the american university that i chaired. the two speakers were oestreich and afghani. at that time, i wrote a report on human rights violations in afghanistan which was entitled, a nation is dying. that is what one of the leaders said to me. clearly that was not true. afghanistan was not dying.
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afghans have been dying since that time. i cannot overstate the urgency with which we need to and that process. i feel that should take priority over everything else. now i will step back and put on my analyst hat. i have been asked to talk about regional and international issues. let me start with very basic facts that are often ignored. very basic geography. sometimes only hear people talk about what we should do, my responses, please look at a map. what are you talking about. afghanistan is landlocked. no other country can have access to it, without going through the territories or
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airspace of pakistan, iran, a tiny bit of china or plastic. there also essentially landlocked to which we have access only to china and russia primarily. there is a little rude but i will not go into. that is the main picture. that means, the landlocked position is in many ways at the origin of these conflicts and the dilemma that afghanistan finds itself in. when they found itself in conflict with the newly formed nation of pakistan, over ethnic and border issues, the united states led with pakistan therefore could not aid the military and it turned to the soviet union. the decision to turn to a
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distant power to protect itself against its neighbor, have the results that we know. as a cautionary tale, afghanistan trying to turn to the united states, unlike the soviet union, does not have a border where the, will also be a cautionary tale. alliance with the state reliance on the united states for 30 is not a long-term strategy. engagement is not a short-term strategy. my that the case? afghanistan is not only bested the youngest country in the world outside of africa, it is also the poorest country outside of africa. far poor than any other country in asia. all of the achievements that we
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have been talking about and celebrating are not financed by afghanistan and cannot be financed by afghanistan. the government talks rightly about achievements and governme talks rightly about achievements and increasing its revenue and becoming more self- sufficient fish it is talking about covering the costs of afghan state, not sustaining all these projects progress and so on. >> afghan's future if it is to be sustainable will depend on developing an economy. for land locked country, connectivity to world markets. it is dependent on direct financial aid from the united states which is dependent on the low gist stal of pakistan and primarily through pakistan.
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until our relations with iran undergo a u-turn, or a lot more infrastructure or with russia undergoes a u-turn, that will be the only alternative for that type of relationship. now, for connectivity to get the afghan economy moving, the engine has to betrayed and investment. now, who are afghanistan's main trading partners? ner has been some change in that in the current administration in afghanistan has been to diversify the trading partners but afghanistan's main trading partners are still iran, pakistan, china and india. furthermore, where would the engine of economic growth in afghanistan from? there wasn't growth there. no real economic incentive for
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peace making with some people call it a power of attraction like joining the european union was for peace in certain parts of urine. the growth of india and china meant there was economic dynamism if linked to the afghan ney economy, it could lead to take off, but china's mechanism for building connectivity is the belt and road initiative including the china pakistan charter which the united states and in dalia oppose. in fact, right now, the united states and china are locked in a dispute at the united nations over whether the resolution renewing the mandate of the united nations will mention it or not. u.s. opposes it. china insists. >> the same thing happened last year and it gutted the resolution. india's access to afghanistan because it is cut off by land
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by pakistan depends on access through iran through the port and previous -- no. other ports using previously. now, the united states has iran under sanctions which despite the attempt to wave some have froze glen the development of job ba har and made it impossible to expand that. one of the affects is per capita gdp growth in two years has been negative. that is population growth has been faster than gdp growth. that is not a part to self- sufficient fish shy. as long as afghanistan is dependent for its security on the presence of a united states, which is blocking -- which is opposed stra teague
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cly to the projects to become self-sufficient, that can never stabilize afghanistan. what does this mean? >> first of all, the option of afghanistan being stabilized like michael said it is now off the table despite what people talk about here, because the alternative to the deal that has been halted or ended whatever it may be, is not a long term u.s. presence. there is no military victory like in germany. no unconditional surrender like in japan. the alternative is u.s. withdrawal on some other terms. now, one of the positive achievements of this diplomatic process that hasn't gotten that
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much attention here has been the development of a consensus among the u.s., russia and china, to some extent including pakistan, on this process and the core of that consensus is about a responsible transition through the withdrawal of u.s. troops to afghanistan and a political settlement. it is not about a u.s. presence conducting a forever war on terror in afghanistan. and so far russia, china, and pakistan have reiterated that position that they support a political settlement that will lead to a u.s. withdrawal, dialogue and settlement in afghanistan. with the u.s. position as we know is unclear, but i think president donald trump's basic position that he wants to get out of afghanistan and the basic possession to get out of
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afghanistan is quite clear. the question is how. first of all, if the united states is going to get out without the agreement that was reached last week that doesn't mean it will get out without an agreement. perfect. first of all, the afghani government will have the capacity depending how the elections go but if the elections have a decisive result which they may or may not have but if they do, then the afghan government will be in a position to regain position to some extent if it is willing to say to acknowledge that its future is not on the united states. we understand you're leaving. talk to us about how to leave. it can say to the taliban, we're asking the united states
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to leave. isn't that your main demand? what is your problem? and in addition, the region still wants an agreement based on a settlement based on withdrawal of u.s. troops and political settlement. we're coming up on the meeting which are likely to take place. the u.s. russia china consensus position that was developed over the past few months was to some extent based on the work previously done by russia through the moscow process which the united states saw as a threat and opposed but eventually sort of participated in and it was absorbed into this process, so that the u.s. and russian special representatives were actually working together on this. now, there is no -- and the model for interafghan talks in that process was bringing the
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afghan government and taliban together through the context of a regional meeting which other stakeholders of course would be represented as well that control the access to afghanistan. there is -- obviously, it can't happen without the united states as well but the regional process the afghan process and interafghan talks by the way and could not work together. by the way, the one thing that tells this process has clarified is that the taliban are willing to talk to the afghan government. they agreed to do it. and arrangements for doing it were under way in norway. there rest their condition was the u.s. afghan bilateral agreement but that inhibition, that prohibition has been broken. and it is now not a question of
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if, it is a question of how and when. it may be that u.s. taliban talks are not the right enabling environment for it. maybe u.s. afghan bilateral, maybe something we can't imagine which i can found is the frequently occurring event in afghanistan for the last 40 years, but i continue to think that the present war is not sustainable. no one really wants it and it will be a lot of -- somehow we'll find another path. thank you. thank you very much. so we have heard perspectives from afghanistan, from a variety of angles and we heard about the region. now we're going to come here to the u.s. and hear from laura miller about some of the u.s. policy option the. >> first a word in response to michael's comments. unfortunately if a deep desire for peace was what it took for
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there to be peace, there would be a lot more peace in the world and so i have no doubt that there is a deep desire for peace, but you still need political mechanisms to convert that deep desire for peace into actual peace. and so the idea that there is going to be a ferment rising up from the bottom and that is going to create peace is i think simply factually untrue in human existence. that is not a policy recommendation. that is an observation. for the united states there are i would say three basic options and i might amend it to say maybe bernie has the nub of a fourth option here. the three options are first of all, the u.s. could simply withdraw. if the u.s. wants to withdraw
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and it makes it doesn't need to make a taliban to do it. it might still as a cover and as a way of assuring safe passage on the way out the door, but it doesn't need an agreement with the taliban to do it nor with the afghan government to do it though that along the lines of what barney described that would be de require rable and feasible. >> if the u.s. decides to simply withdraw then the counterterrorism assurances that it negotiated whatever it looks like with the taliban are essentially worth less. of those assurances are only potentially meaningful insofar as the taliban becomes part of the governance structures of afghanistan and therefore has some interest in adhering to them and also there rest there are mechanisms to holding them
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to them, but other ways those assurances are simply papering over the exit. in my view if this was the policy option the u.s. chose, the consequences for afghanistan would be quite devastating. i think the likelihood of a withdrawal from afghanistan within the next let's say sometime before -- i don't know, october 2020, with no peace agreement left behind would very likely lead to an intensified and wade der civil war, more chaotic civil war in afghanistan, not guaranteed but likely. the second is to simply continue doing what it is doing and this is an option that is being promoted by some here in washington. often it is said by those promoting this option that the united states can't afford
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let's call it 30 billion, 35 billion, the actual numbers are disputed but that the united states can afford to keep paying several billion dollars a year for the afghan security forces. can afford sustaining some let's say 8,000, 8600 if there is a partial draw down troops in afghanistan. technically, literally of course the united states can afford the monetary costs of that. however, those who promote this line entirely ignore the costs that are born by afghanistan for at the scenario and the sustainability of those costs. can the united states -- can afghanistan continue to sustain the cost in terms of the lives of afghan security forces and what that means for the capabilities of the security forces for an indefinite period of time, not to speak of the
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other human costs in afghanistan and the ways in which the connecting as barney described impedes any possibility of genuine economic growth. that scenario, the let's keep doing what we're doing, also i think ignores the political realities in the united states. i don't think that just keeping doing what we're doing for an indefinite period of time, let asay indefinitenessness is not very long in that scenario in my view politically. there are many signs on the wall as to the political unsustainability of this for much longer. so the third option is, therefore trying to leave some kind of political settlement in afghanistan that is connected to a u.s. withdrawal.
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that means a process that is more or less like the process that he has been pursuing over these months. i can't speak to the specifics of the deal that he has negotiated as whether that is the best that could be negotiated or not because we don't all know what is in that deal beyond a few specific that don't quite tell us enough, but in terms of what are the options process wise, that is basically it. now, barney's idea of an option where the u.s. stops negotiating with the taliban and starts negotiating with the afghan government about the terms of its withdrawal is theoretically possible, but whether in fact there would be incentive on the afghan government side to negotiate a u.s. withdrawal on a timeline in terms that actually fit the politics in the united states i
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think is an open question, but one could test that. what is not an option unfortunately is the kind of peace process that probably everyone in this room would prefer and that i'm sure anyone on this panel or sitting at this table would prefer and that the afghan government would prefer. and it is the kind of peace process that for many years the united states sought to launch. that is a peace process in which there is a ceasefire first, a peace process in which the negotiations are foremost initially or at least simultaneously involving the afghan government and not just between the u.s. and taliban. a peace process that somehow up front guarantees that the outcome will be such that the gains for women, for minorities, for many of the other kinds of gains are preserved. the united states of america
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has been unable to deliver that kind of peace process. and i see no reason why this week the options and capabilities of the united states to deliver that kind of peace process are any better than they were last week or will get any better in the future. if the afghan government, the afghan political lead, the afghan people want to reject the kind of peace process that the united states is able to launch and try to deliver, that is perfectly within their right toss do so. however, if that is what happens, then i think that means that afghanistan will be left alone to try to find peace on its own terms and i highly doubt that that will result in a peace process of the more desirable variety where the taliban agrees to a ceasefire
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and negotiations immediately commence with the afghan government. again, i'm not recommending against the preferred peace process if it was my choice, the preferred peace process would be the one that we had, but as i said, the united states of america has been unable to deliver that and will continue to be unable to deliver that. i think it is important though to remember what it is that the u.s. taliban agreement as distasteful as it may be in many ways to many people was intended to do. and that is it was intended and if it revives will be intended to lead to interafghan negotiations that will be the real peace process and so rather than criticizing the deal that can be had, my recommendation would be to keep your eye on the prize.
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the prize is the interafghan negotiations that will be the place where avenue gones are able to test the possibility of getting the kind of outcome that they prefer and the kind of compromises they can live with, whether it turns out to be possible or not, i don't know. i see that as the only realistic way forward. just quickly to close, i would say you know, how do we move on from president donald trump declaring that this process is dead? first and foremost, it requires a decision by president donald trump to declare the process undead. and i think president donald trump has shown himself to be exceptionally agile in reframing decisions and declarations and moving on from them when it is in the interest as he sees it of the united states or his political
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interest or his desire and the desire of his administration to do so so i see no obstacle to president donald trump declaring the process undead at least in principle. it will require rebuilding some of the confidence that ambassador has succeeded in devloping of the regional countries in particular in the u.s. commitment to negotiating. i think that is a success that he had over the last year in winning confidence that the u.s. was really serious about peace negotiations this time and the disruption of this weekend does some damage to that but it is not fatal damage and it is damage that is probably easiest repaired by jolting the process back to life perhaps some electrotherapy, electroshock therapy there as quickly as
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possible. the longer the delay, it might be harder to do that. it is also necessary to deescalate the conflict dynamics in washington that have a risen about this and i think about this deal and the criticisms that have a risen and i think that will require the administration to be much more forward leaning in explaining the deal, explaining what a u.s. taliban is or isn't. there is still a lot of miss perception that this was supposed to bow the peace deal and therefore it didn't deliver enough when that is not really the case and it will require more selling of the deal here in washington as i said which is really about explanation of what it is, what it isn't and what is in it. i would close by saying that you no, this is in response to
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some of the comments that the ambassador made that i appreciated and cherizard and michael as well. it is important to bear in mind that peace negotiations are north peace building. they are thoughts the same thing. many steps many talked about here that needs to happen to their to be peace in afghanistan are absolutely necessary after you set a political foundation for peace building and that will take a very long time but i think it is not helpful to criticize a peace negotiation for not delivering what only long-term peace building can deliver. >> thank you very much for all those comments. we will be taking questions from the audience, some of the staff will have microphones. please do wait until i call on you and then the microphone arrives as that is getting set
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up i want to start with a question of my own. i am glad to see we reconnected with you. questions if you want to comment. some things that you have said and the threat of the the conversation has alluded to the divisions within the afghan political environment beyond the taliban. so they obviously have an extreme and violent grievance with the political system of afghanistan but there is a lot of discord, politically, gee grav cly in the country and i think the suggestion made that this undermines the fundamental leverage that the afghan government has with one voice. also it has been mentioned the presidential elections are coming up on september 28th and they are always a competitive and polarizing political event. so if we look ahead beyond september 28th, not knowing who will win, what do you see as
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the need and opportunities for the post election political environment to either consolidate or fragment and what will that have on the peace process? %fo >> let us try to get the audio. can we work on that? >> yes. can you hear me now? >> yes, thank you. thank you for the question scott. i think one of the responses to the announcement was just -- [ no audio. ] about the -- [ no audio. ]
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>> it is an important reminder for the government to move beyond the situation. [ no audio. ] >> it will not be easy and i think there are opinions about the election for having that -- [ no audio. ] some believe that having elections and having governments with senior mandates whoever is leading the government will have a stronger mandate and the afghans will be a stronger position to negotiate with the taliban and there are beliefs that the -- [ no audio. ]
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i think the elections should need to go forward, but i think what we can learn from the announcement is that this process will be -- this will be a long process and it will -- this will take awhile for us to get fully involved. and it is on all of us especially on the government and leading to utilizing -- [ no audio. ] the loss of one or the other political segment and -- [ no audio. ] >> it will not be easy. i have my concerns, but -- [ no
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audio. ] there is need for cohesion and having leadership from all sides. [ no audio. ] >> thanks very much. let me then take some hands. the woman in the suit right there. we'll start with you. >> sorry. please also say your name and affiliation if you have one. >> my name is stacy sham ber from the civil society action network. thank you for your comments. you spoke about the importance and need for inclusivity of the peace process which many of us value and agree with both for our shared values of human rights as well as for the evidence we have around the
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sustainability and durability of peace processes. my question is what can civil society activists and organizations do globally to support you and the various afghan groups as you work to build that social cohesion and prepare for the interafghan dialogue? thank you. go ahead. >> thank you for the question. i think the afghan woman's movement and process was a good example of how our -- how it can have an impact. [ no audio. ] >> and in the past months and
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years, women have been advocating for protection. [ no audio. ] afghan women are very nervous about not having -- not being amplified or being left alone and marginalized in their demands but the response from organizations and individuals outside for the importance of listening to women and their demands and listening to their aspirations for peace and also insuring that a wide variety of afghan women are -- [ no audio. ] there are concerns about the process and there are concerns about a future both
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settlements on government and implications for women's rates. we feel r i g h ts. so i would say my call would be to keep doing what you're doing activists and as the organizations for human rights. and keep amplifying the human rights activists and reminding everyone including the taliban that they are not alone in that -- [ no audio. ] they are not aspirations that only the afghans will have to fight for. >> thanks very much. this gentleman here in the suit.
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>> further more than 12 years in afghanistan. sham shot is one of the few tv stations that gets into the tribal areas in pakistan. my question is if the taliban owned the land, 65% of afghanistan is ruled by the taliban and as a military guy, if you own the land, you own the narrative. my question is, how are you going to get the taliban in those far remote regions that feel empowered to lay down their arms, to say to everyone, there is peace on the horizon when they know time is on their side? thank you. i will turn to michael to
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answer that. others can join in if they want. good question. and i certainly wanted to comment on the military situation, because we fundamentally we're all coming back. we have all been making the point despite that and the firm lane and what the options are. ultimately, whatever everybody has been saying is that the way forward is when there are successful interafghan talks so the challenge is what is the right framework which will set conditions for those talks? and one of the tools which has of course been used is the military. now, there has been a ramping up of violence over the past year and the taliban have been hit hard and the u.s. pushing up that violence and it certainly looks to me from the
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outside as if there has been an attempt to persuade them that you're hurting hard, you have to get serious at the negotiating table. the impression that i have had is that they -- the lower ranges of the taliban have been hit hard. they are well aware of the rates they are facing but i haven't seen its affecting the strategic calculations that they last persuade anybody at their leadership level to change the instructions they are giving to the team in kuter so the taliban have a lot over there. when it comes to the decisions which are being made of the people out there in the sticks and in the districts of afghanistan as to whether they are prepared to fight on or not, that is of course an issue
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of the sense of the prospect of victory. the pros speck they will be able to move into the towns but also they are affected by the confidence and the movement, the confidence of the leadership, the confidence of the sacrifices they are making. they talk very much about their sacrifices that they are being respected and honored. and they look closely to so what is going on because there is no single story and, yes, we are we said on the panel, this idea that when you get this idea the taliban have the time is that afghanistan is dependent for its security and we no withdrawal of the u.s. financial lifeline and military security would the current set up would not be able to survive that reality and taliban know that. but on the other hand, we have had plenty of parts of the
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country which i have been observing quite clearly where the taliban military command has found it tough to persuade the guys to go out there and fight because they don't see the point and some places we have seen an echo to back to the period that barney can remember at the time of the soviet withdrawal where try as a based leaders were not able to up the antito increase the violence because people were opting out. and persuading this is a local war, you're in your control of your area. why are we killing each other? that is one of the ways, one of the dynamics in the fighting in afghanistan. so what i think that one of the ways to rethink and come back,
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the challenge that was setting how do you set the conditions for intraafghan negotiations for productive interafghan negotiations that do lead into a political settlement is finding ways of turning the violence down and persuading the people you're asking about that na getting them to conclude that you know what? we're still i'm still tallly ban, but i'm not going to be heading into burn down our districts center again to cause further loss to the state and then to be blown up and chased out again, the next day. let's stick where we are. the more that people are persuaded to take that decision the more you'll have favorable conditions which ultimately is the solution. >> i think as you we have documentary evidence that is happening but that is not the narrative being captured. >> others want to weigh in? i'll give you a chance but i want to add my spin because the
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fundamental issue that was raised is that there are differences in afghanistan, whatever percentages are under taliban control. of course some have gained and others have been living in a very different environment. i wonder if you have perspectives or thoughts on the different experiences within afghanistan and whether that is attention or advantage for a peace process? >> thank you. i think first of the areas under control, we have to be very careful about stopping from control and influence and you know when we talk about it. i think as time is really -- in temperatures of violence, michael also said the
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mortality is higher on both sides. people are dying everyday and it is impacting not only -- the future. we're dealing with huge groups of children, adults and dealing with many families that are have a single, a woman and family, we have exhaustion with the war and it is impacting social oh hesion and impacting our ability to become economically self reliant and impacting the future of everyone and i think the sense is a morning fighters certainly from [ no audio.
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] it is at the local level that maybe for leadership, you know, they think they have the time on their side, but people are dying on a daily basis fighting on a daily basis. in firms afghans who access through education, healthcare services, to the ability to afford a politically elected leader. many outcomes that i know, the possibility to experience the opportunities that some of us
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have had. this desire is to possibly shaped by the fact and not a right mix. we have had in the past 15 years to not only for experience, freedoms and also to learn more about how people live in countries around us and around the world. there are different ways of life and different policies and aspirations. if you look at the kind of media products, if you look at the kind of lifestyles that affect afghan, the general is
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for accounting that will have more space to exercise your rights. more space for people who make decisions about their life and so i think there might be a sense that areas that are most hardly hit by the conflicts, have a greater sense of urgency in wanting and into it but it's the first step. they want more than security. they want lives that will allow them to have frustration and live life similar to people in other countries, but across the world have access to freedoms, services they think they deserve. >> thank you.>> a quick response to the narrower, original question which was, you get far-flung taliban to
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lay down their arms if in fact there is a peace deal. two points, one, i thank you can be confident that the taliban leadership will not sign a deal that they can't deliver on, that their followers won't follow because they are very attentive to maintaining their cohesion. and if they sign a deal that's going to divide the taliban and that their followers won't follow, that would be devastating to them. they want side to deal that's devastating to them. that's not a point of optimism, because i think that's one real reason why dealmaking will be vr hard, they want agreed to a deal that they don't think they can deliver on and sell to their rank and file. the second great point is, there won't be any peace enforcement mission. there won't be a scenario where a deal is signed and someone other than the taliban leadership, enforces it vis-@- vis the child and rank-and-
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file. the implementation of a deal is going to depend on the child and leadership enforcing it vis- @-vis the rank-and-file there won't be a un peacekeeping mission, you won't have the united states enforcing the deal and the afghan government will be hard pressed to enforce the deal. in areas such as you described. you can dispute the numbers, from a taliban perspective, no deal is probably preferable to a deal i shouldn't say probably it's probably a deal with the taliban. >> the narrative that because the government is dependent on outside assistance, therefore outside assistance is taken away the taliban will in is wrong in is based on jurists, i'm thinking it's based on why they are negotiating because the taliban don't want -- it's
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not only of the current government it's the future government even if it's run by the taliban because you knew they are entirely successful when they were in control. they want to be part of a legitimate government, that receives foreign assistance. the term control is also deceptive, it gives you the idea of some border. there are now i can give you numbers but there are areas of afghanistan know from which we've had consistent reporting where the security forces, police administration is in the hands of the taliban. they do not abolish all the institutions of the afghan state , in fact schools, health clinics, continue running under their directions and they are much harsher about teacher absenteeism than the government. so, in fact there is a kind of coexistence already in place, what we need to do is create the political conditions for
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that coexistence, which will enable people to expand their exercises their rights to expand and enlarge pick >> we will take a few questions. the gentleman with the pen in the air.>> thank you. sean carberry with the department of defense office of inspector general. i want to pick him on something laurel just raised about the taliban not agreeing to a deal that they can't sell to their people. that gets to the question of what is the zone of possible agreement between the parties here? how big or how small is it in terms of what the the taliban can sell to their people, what the afghan a little can sell on their site, what the u.s. can sell and what international constituencies can live with. no one's going to get their maximalist position. up like a sense of more of the specifics of what are some of the areas where there is possible agreement, where are some of the things where there
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might not be that would cause fragmentation, that could pull this whole thing apart?>> let's take another question from the woman in the back in the striped shirt.>> my name is padma and my question is towards miss laurel miller. when u.s. administration declared operation enduring freedom in 2001 and went on to afghanistan but then first lady laura bush also call that the process of separation of women. this process has proved to be transformative. we witnessed 18 gradually professed of years in of gaston. miss shaharzad akbar is one of the highlights of the process but now, after a very long course of time, we are again at this critical juncture, we the women of afghanistan, not the
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entire society. i'm concerned about women a law and more than anything else. we the women of afghanistan are at a critical juncture of social and political existential traits in taken the conservative severity of afghanistan and the taliban share over it. there is a fear the democratic ideals of liberty, equality pertaining to women's rights may fall back with the drought of u.s. and the disengagement of the united states in afghanistan. can we say that women are yet again, at stake of getting back to the darkest days of the history of afghanistan? thank you. >> thank you. as mentioned my people are following us on twitter. i want to read another question that came through that platform. it's about pakistan, what are the chances of prevailing upon pakistan to stop supporting the
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taliban which this commentator suggests is one of the only ways to get the the taliban to buy into democracy . let's start with laurel to address one of those questions. we can get another round in before we close. >> those are all good questions. we unfortunately to have time to give them justice. the one directed towards me, i think it is entirely understandable why women in afghanistan would be concerned about the peace process and what might come out of it. i completely understand that, from a personal perspective and from a policy perspective. of analyzing what the u.s. policy options as the u.s. perceives that are and what the u.s. is likely to do. it is important to remember number one, the united states did not invade afghanistan to liberate afghan women.
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number two, united states will not make a decision about its exit from afghanistan based fundamentally based on considerations regarding afghan women. i am not saying that as a policy proposal, prescription recommendation. i'm stating it as a policy reality in the united states. there will be many here who will desire to minimize the impact on afghan women, preserve the protections for afghan women. at the end of the day, the decision-making will be fundamentally about other issues related to this security of the united states and not considerations related to women. i'm sorry, i don't really have time to address sean's comment but i would just say very briefly that, it's a difficult question to answer in large part because both sides but more particularly the taliban
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are not going into this negotiation, if this negotiation happens. we've already developed political platforms unlike other peace process around the world . the zone of the possible is going to have to emerge as the negotiations develop in the positions as they develop, confront each other. and chances of pakistan stopping, well slim. but, i think the more important point is if the united states simply withdrawals from afghanistan, starts to withdraw, abandons the peace process, the chances of pakistan ramping up its relationship with the taliban increase. and that's considerably. >> laura bush never gave such a speech, before 9/11. if the united states were going
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to end the game afghanistan to liberate afghan women they had manner opportunities but they didn't do it until after 9/11. that speech to legitimate something that took's for other reasons and that basic reality is still real today.>> gone the question of what the taliban leadership would sign up for, signoff on unfortunately i think, nobody still knows. we seem to be very close to getting to know that but we don't know that, we do know some of their considerations. laurel is right to say find consideration for the leadership is maintaining the unity of the movement. it also want to protect themselves as being on course to a -- establishment of an islamic emirate or something like that and whatever deal they want to do, they want to protect themselves as being on
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course to a full withdrawal of u.s. forces. phase of three things that have most concern. one of the problems, i'm worried about the question. which is that the yes, yes negotiations i negotiated outcome are important but they aren't the whole thing in peacemaking. i suspect in afghanistan is setting the conditions for a negotiated outcome. that may be something we have to, now is a good time for everybody to reflect on what more options there are to make progress on setting the conditions for example, even what was referred to about the existence of a zone inside afghanistan, where the war is sort of moved on. the levels are coming down and there are zones of government and taliban control, but they've been developing some kind of modus operandi and that too is something reminiscent of the post 1989 period.
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i think the clever people who are trying to plot a way forward, should be looking at how or what can be done to set the conditions without assuming that within one month or two months or three months you can actually jump straight to either the negotiated solution or even the negotiation to which could be the solution. maybe you want jump quickly to bargain but there are important things which can be done to alter the dynamics of the conflict in afghanistan which puts you on the progress towards at conditions in which it safe for the u.s. to withdraw. >> we will take one more round of questions. let me start with the gentleman in the blue shirt.>> i'm with the inspector general for afghan reconstruction. how will holding or not holding the upcoming afghan presidential election will change the dynamics of political positioning and the
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potential enter afghan dialogue my if there is going to be any?>> thank you. the gentleman with the white shirt.>> i'm just back from kabul. with everything i happened with the camp david cancellation, it seems the fallout is what mostly the press and the international committee is focused on but a few of the positives bear your reflection possibly, one pompeo just said he would not sign the agreement just a few days before but here is trump fully engaged. the taliban officially have not agreed to meet with the government. they've done so informally in recent rounds but there they were about to do so. you have the taliban also indicate for the first time in the last round around nine they
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would reduce not end the violence. plus, we now have a situation where trump needs a deal, he needs to be reelected, he's just gotten rid of bolton and so things are more conducive with that respect. my key question is the elections. if the taliban, especially in light of what you've said professor semple about the very important considerations from the lower ranks. we all know when elections happen in afghanistan, the taliban usually increase violence right in the run-up to, will that not be crosscutting and how will that play out?>> and then, let's take one more in the front row here. >> hello. i'm the director of local engineer. my question is from laurel. you seem so pessimistic about
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pakistan, yet you seem so pessimistic about pakistan and in the peace process but i think pakistan has a fundamental problem. the taliban were burning pakistan, they were horrible to pakistan, and just to speak isis mainly the main authority for taliban. i had and still have taliban leadership were to have all of them but whenever we had an offer for them, they need to go outside and they were like, we have to speak with our leadership but they were leadership picked they had to speak for the isi.>> ask your question please. >> there has to be the solution to harness the work for a
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peaceful outcome of the process. thank you. >> should we start with michael and work back down. >> i think the work which has been done to put together regional consensus is important. that's one of the points that i am saying has got to be built on, rather than just scrapping. keep not just pakistan but the other regional players at the table as we were told but most of the taliban movement in afghanistan are pretty close to as being as resentful of the control from masters in as you might be yourself, that nobody
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yet has come up with the bright strategic level late of making use of that. i think if we do see progress towards reduction of violence, over the next year or so, it will be some more attention to that. i think that the -- i listened very hard to laurel who was slapping me on the wrist and said, saying the war fatigue is a strategy. it's not sufficient. it's an important ingredient which with the right policy framework and institutions, is something which can be exploited. when pro afghan sentiment inside the ranks of the taliban, when that is capitalized on in ways reminiscent of what happened in the period 89 and 92, then
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violence levels may come down because over the past year we've seen an attempt to capitalize on the cohesiveness of the movement and the strategic decisions making me a wise strategic decisions from the taliban leadership to embrace peace and a compromise settlement. we've gambled on that. it hasn't happened, yet. maybe, they will do it. that the test which i hope they will be subjected to, again and again. the more they are forced to worry that our ranks, the people who've kept the fighting going, the people that give us our leverage, that they are starting to opt out but they're going cool on the war as has happened previously. the more they worry about that tomorrow is a chance the conditions are set and they actually embrace a compromise solution at the negotiating table that so far has been elusive.>> the main variable
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about the elections will affect this is not taliban violence. the taliban never gave any indication that they would reduce violence if the elections were postponed or canceled that's one of the reasons we are having the elections. and in the past, at the taliban has not been decisive. the question about the elections is there may be voting but will there be an election. if the voting leads to a relatively quick choice of the president, which is accepted by the major non-taliban political forces in the country, then it will strengthen the government as president envisions. but that's not been the history of election, presidential less elections in afghanistan. if the election is once again contested my there are charges of corruption and are not accepted by major political forces, there could be a
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relatively long, several months period of contestation perhaps demands for a second round, which the government may or may not accept. in which case, the divisions within the coalition opposing the taliban him of the constitutional coalition will become stronger. really, a law depends on the outcome and conduct of the elections. as far as pakistan is concerned, i think pakistan remains pakistan. and it is not going to change into another country, that does not have antagonism with india or problems with afghanistan. afghanistan remains landlocked . the afghanistan cannot have a future that is based on strategic antagonism with pakistan . somehow or other, hopefully through regional cooperation and the involvement of third parties, notably china, china is there permanently unlike the united states.
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afghanistan and china, afghanistan and pakistan will find a way of living with their differences but not because pakistan is transformed into a country that does not have any issues with afghanistan.>> i fully agree with bonnie's comments on pakistan, i'm not dismissive of the problems. the problems that are raised by the interests that pakistan perceives in afghanistan i am dismissive of the idea that all it takes is the united states to say no, or to impose some sanctions on pakistan that that's the what it will take to fundamentally change their strategic calculations. the question of whether a secretary pompeo would sign or not, i think that story got out of control. it was not that he wasn't going to sign off on the deal. it was that there were questions asked to the formalities of who would be
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signing on behalf of the united states. it's more than formalities it's also symbolisms. if i were in the state department, i would recommend secretary pompeo not sign the deal. i don't think this is an agreement that should be signed at the level of secretary of state. i think that would only be another feather in the cap for the taliban, to have a podium like this were secretary pompeo is sitting next to mueller broader. this is an agreement that should be signed in a more low- key way, by the envoy who negotiated it. i don't think there was a substantive issue there.>> great. thank you. i'm sorry we lost you. i'm glad you're back. i don't know if you heard the questions. they were more about elections but, and pakistan why don't we just give you a minute as we close for any final thoughts.>> thank you. i'm sorry i messed up the
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questions. i think there is some development and it's created concern creating an unfortunate and that's for the afghan especially the taliban. if they are serious about the political process and if they are serious about engaging with the majority of they need to reevaluate their approach and they need to at least reevaluate their engagement with various countries if not just pakistan.>> thank you. please join me in thanking this great panel for a deep discussion on the afghanistan peace process.>> [ applause ]>>
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we closed by saying one sign of progress is that we can have a nearly continuous to our video link with somebody with high- quality in afghanistan. things are improving. thank you very much for staying up late to talk to us. finally, the conversation continues on afghanistan next thursday from 11:00 until 12:30 p.m. we will hold's the launch of the reintegration of taliban fighters, what happened in the past, this will hopefully be useful lessons for the future because there will be fighters to reintegrate. with that, thank you for joining us. we will see you at the next one.>> [ applause ] sees back his back in des moines for life campaign 2020 coverage of the pope county
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democrats annual state right at 2 pm eastern were 17 presidential candidates will take the stage. watch the polk county, iowa state right live on c-span, are on the go with the free c-span radio app . campaign 2020 watch live coverage of the presidential candidates on the campaign trail and make up your own mind. c-span's campaign 2020 your unfiltered view of politics. this weekend on american history tv. saturday at 6 pm eastern on the civil war, scott mingus co- author of targeted tracks talks about the importance of the cumberland valley railroad, during the civil war. at eight p.m. a lectured history a discussion on playwright august wilson.>> the things that are motivating august wilson are his desire to
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move black people from the margins to the center and say, what's true about us, what matters to us, what's happening in our lives. >> sunday, at 4 pm eastern on real america, the 1919 silent army film "motor convoy." a track from washington, d.c. to san francisco and on the presidency, herbert hoover in his world war i relief work. >> hoover and his team of mostly american volunteers got them into remarkable organization. it had its own flag. it has had its own fleet. and negotiated what you buy call treaties with some of the warring european powers. it's leader, hoover enjoyed informal diplomatic immunity and travels really through enemy lines the only american citizen permitted to do so during the entire work. >> and explore our nation's
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past on american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. lansing was sort of picked at the capital city because no one wanted to pick lansing. it was offered up as a compromise location. we learned about ransom in the auto company he founded in
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lansing.>> ransom e olds founded the real motor core company the company that was title as in ackerman. it emerged in 1904 and stayed here pretty much close to this location in a variety of formats. through 1975.>> watch c-span city store as we take in its history and literary scene. this saturday at noon eastern on c-span 2 book tv and sunday on american history tv on afghanistan working with our affiliate as we explore the american story. the usda undersecretary for farming conservation programs testifies topically include the inflammation of the farm bill, trade relations with china and the status of disaster


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