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tv   C-SPAN Weekend  CSPAN  February 19, 2011 10:00am-2:00pm EST

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very much so in the sense that every lawmaker is up for reelection this year. 120 in the assembly, for the in the senate, so they will be running on something. there is a lot of momentum for these types of reforms. he is 9 the public argument and is widely popular in new jersey and across the country. presumably, there is a link between his poll ratings in this tough talk on reform. how that plays out this summer and during the campaign and across the country, i think everyone is aware of the national debate in the debate statewide. they will be watching him. host: jarrett renshaw from 'the star ledger."
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that ends our program for today. another program your way to our morning starting at 7:00 a.m. think for watching today and we will see you tomorrow. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> coming up, a wartime contract a commission hearing on how u.s. tax dollars are being spent on construction projects in afghanistan. after that, more on afghanistan. the u.s. institute of peace reports on the political strategy in that region. also remarks from secretary of
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state hillary clinton on taliban forces in afghanistan and pakistan. >> for young americans, to save medicare and sells security and make the systems work better and keep our promise to americans, we have to change. >> ohio republican jim in jordan on spending issues, the tea party, and president obama as proposed budget, sunday. >> this monday, visit the public and private space is america's most recognizable home, the white house the original documentary provides a look at the history of the presidential residence and take you through the, the west wing, all the laws, and lincoln bedroom and focuses on the presidents and first families who have most influence how it looks today, airing in high-definition and updated with interviews with president obama and the first lady and comments from georgia and laura bush" the white
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house, side america's most famous home." >> several companies that have contracts and afghanistan say security and illiteracy are the top two challenges facing contractors. next come officials look at these issues at a commission on wartime contract theory. this is about two hours. >> this is a joint statement on behalf of my co-chair and my fellow commissioners. some of us could not be here today. other commissioners at the dais
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are here. today's hearing is a continuation of our january 24 session on recurring problems and afghanistan -- in afghan construction. we were looking into the planning, management, execution, accountability, and sustainability of contract construction programs and afghanistan. there are literally thousands of these projects ranging from schools and clinics in afghan villages to power plants and training centers in afghan cities to barracks and dining facilities for u.s./nato troops. they're all important and they all involve billions of taxpayer dollars, mostly filed to contractors for the departments of defense and state or through the u.s. agency for international development. at our january 24 session, we heard from government folks, the special inspector in general,
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aid and witnesses from the army corps of engineer and the air force center for engineering and the environment. we were also supposed to hear from the witnesses who are back today, but we got so involved in the first two panels that there was not enough time. we apologize for the attendance of our third panel which is here today and we thank you gentlemen for agreeing to talk with us and take our questions. we thank you for not complaining about having to come back. our witness battle comprises construction contractors who have carried out some major construction in afghanistan. michael mckelvey, charles musanahar, and william van
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dyke. also appearing today is bruce mccarron. unops is the usaid arm of the school project. the united nations has made mr. mccarron available today. he will join us after a square in the other witnesses. thank you again for your cooperation with the commission. another witness scheduled to speak on january 24 had prior commitments and could not return as today. he is larry walker. we are making arrangements for him to appear at a future hearing. we have the best witnesses to
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offer free or summaries of their testimony, the full text of the written statements were entered into the hearing record last month and posted on the commission's website. we also accept any updated versions they may provide. we ask that the witnesses submit within 15 business days response to any questions for the record and any additional information they may offer. if the witnesses would rise, i will swear you in. ise your right hand. do you solemnly swear and affirm that the testimony you're about to give before this commission is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? for the record our witnesses responded in the affirmative. mr. karen, please join us, and i thank you, and let the record show that as i've said they responded in the affirmative. i think we'll start with you mr. colby and your testimony. let me say you have 5 minutes given that you were having to
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come back. if you run two more minutes, we'll allow it to happen, and i will definitely stop you after 7, and we'll finish by 11:30 because i know you have commitments, and that you can count on. >> thank you. chairman shays, distinguished members of the commission, i'm michael president of overseeing the division that executes our government contracts, and our work in iraq in afghanistan. on behalf of the 23,000 men and women, i'm pleased to participate in the discussion of wartime construction in iraq and afghanistan. i'll keep remarks short and ask my written statement be submitted for the record. it was my pleasure to meet both cochairs of the commission along with the commission staff in our corporate office in denver last june and participated in the commission hearing last july.
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ch2m hill has a long service to the united states government and works on behalf of the army, navy, air force, epa, fema. we are in support of the federal government. since 2004, ch2m hill provided support to the u.s. military first in iraq and then afghanistan. this support embodies our corporate commitment to follow the dod clients in both peace and war. while we served numerous clients and provided the full range of construction services in iraq and afghanistan, the majority of our work results from three large contracts. first, an army corp. transatlantic contract from january 2004 until january 2009. second, from april 2006 until the present, ch2m hill also held an heavy engineering construction contract, and lastly since july 2009, we're a
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subcontractor under log cap 4. i understand that many from the commission visited afghanistan last august as reference in the previous panel discussions and many were briefed on a project in kabul. on december 7, my government facilities and infrastructure group president met with general ted johnson, the kabul based cluster commander who is anxious to receive the last barracks being built for the client. they are scheduled for completion within the next two weeks. ch2m hill appreciates the work that this commission has done to ensure troops in iraq and afghanistan receive the support they need and that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. we are committed to serving the facility, infrastructure, andly gist ticks needs to the wartime
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environment. we are dedicated to protecting the men and women who fight for our interests. with that, i'll answer any questions the commission may have and share lessons learned from our work in afghanistan. thank you. >> thank you. >> chairman shays and distinguished members of the commission, thank you for our experience to share our reconstruction projects in afghanistan. my name is charles mouzannar and i work in environmental inc. amec is a focused supplier of energying and product management services for the world's natural resources, clean energy, environmental sectors. they maintain assets for its
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customers worldwide with sales of approximately $4 billion. they are operations in the americas and united kiang dome and work for customers from the arctic to os trail australia. they employee 23,000 and more than 4,000 employees in the united states. the sales to the u.s. government for work performed in afghanistan were approximately $58 million. the commission has invited us to appear at this hearing to provide our perspective on recurring challenges relating to u.s. funded construction projects in afghanistan. some of the key challenges that we have encountered along with our recommendations for improvements are provided in our written statements. i want to briefly outline a few points we have presented. a clear and comprehensive scope of work, site surveys, and
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geotechnical reports are a prerequisite for preparing reliable proposals for a firm fixed price on construction contracts. faced with aggressive deadlines, it appears the government is using firm fixed price on contracts, competed and awarded on the basis of lowest price possible when access is limited. the firm's method is effective when site conditions are known, conditions a stable, the supply chain is available, and the scope of work is reasonably defined. many of the projects currently needed across afghanistan do not conform to the above criteria, an we believe they could easily result in significant cost overruns, delays in contract performance, and the government's inability to
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achieve its mission on schedule and at the desired cost. we recommend that acquisition officials reconsider the use of cost contracts by best value selection criteria for projects when site conditions are unknown, security conditions are unstable, the supply chain is unavailable, or the scope of work is not well defined. amec follows a local approach to delivering projects. we focus on planning through commissioning and has developed various designs that maximize the stainability of facilities and minimize operations and maintenance efforts required during the useful life of the facility. for project delivery, amec maximizes the use of afghan workers and engineers in the afghan foreign policy. since 2006, amec delivered prongs consistenting of a minimum of 25% of afghan workers
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supervised by amec staff. we are proud to surpassed 5 million man hours on the afghan national defense university project without a recordable heflt and casted incident while also building a local and sustainable work force. we have positive results by training afghan workers and engineers, yet are challenged with balancing these goals against achieving contract schedule and cost requirements. we believe the government can achieve desired stainability goals for the afghan work force by setting aside projects that allow contractors time and funding to train and develop afghan workers and engineers. last, but not least, amec sees training as an integral part of training in afghanistan. they give training to maximize the effectiveness of the management team, build
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manageable relationships with the stake holders and supply chain, and avoid incidents. we believe this approach is critical for government and contract and staff alike to successfully deliver projects in afghanistan. in closing, amec is proud and thankful for the opportunity to contribute to the reconstruction of the country of afghanistan. our ability to deliver projects in afghanistan during the current challenging circumstances reflects the contributions of all stake holders including the afghan end users, u.s. government, and the amec team supported by our afghan engineers and workers. thank you for the opportunity to brief the commission on amec's perspective on successfully delivering reconstruction projects in afghanistan and i'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you. mr. van dyke. >> good morning -- >> is your mic on, sir? it's the mistake we all make. >> that's better.
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i'm bill van dyke, a wholly owned subsidiary of black and veatch. i thank the mission for this opportunity to discuss my company's efforts in support of u.s.' mission in afghanistan. our corporation is a global provider of power, water, communications, and other infrastructure. as part of the worldwide reach, the company proudly supported u.s. government projects for more than 90 years. since august 2006 as a partner in the group black and veatch venture, we assisted the client in develops essential energy infrastructure in order to improve the economy and quality of life for the people of afghanistan. from 2006 until today, total megawatts of power generation
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available for afghanistan have more than doubled, and us aid projects contributed to 90% of that increase. in december 2010, us-aid awarded them a separate contract for the helmond project for distribution in the south for the support of u.s. government policy. working in support of the mission to increase energy delivery to afghan's people and with afghan government organizations, black and veatch's dedicated professionals has successes. we provided advice to the government in negotiating power agreements with other countries. we developed a successful plan in just 35 days that enabled afghanistan utility to transmit 70 megawatts of imported power
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to the northeast to a complex network of never before used existing facilities. we constructed the 105 megawatt power plant at a greenfield site northeast of kabul that provides the power for kabul and ultimately provides 100 jobs. we trained kandahar workers to overhaul their generating engines rather than shipping them out of the country. this enhanced the power program. projects currently underway enhances their ability to better manage loads from domestic hydropower, fossil fuel, and generation forces. in achieving successes, we've had challenges. in april 2010, our joint ventures living quarters in kandahar was destroyed by an improvised explosion device. we had to evacwase our forces,
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afghan staff trained by black and veatch personnel continued to operate without interruption for weeks, a proven success in training for sustainable operations. in building the power plant, we had issues with the power gerkses we were unable to resolve. we addressed this issue in two ways. first of all, we figured out how to transmit power from pakistan to kabul to deliver power in january 2009, and that was far earlier than originally thought possible. second, black and veatch immediately stepped in to performing the remaining work on the plant delivering a full power for the winter 2009 to 2010 ahead of the scheduled at the time of the subcontract termination. u.s.-aid turned over ownership
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of the plant in june 2010. the plant met all asks since it was -- requests since it was commissioned and we work 2.7 million person hours in building the facility without a serious safety incident. the cost of taking the project from an empty green field site to operation was by the u.s. army corp. engineers. it was discussed before the commission in january. the costs in 2008 after all major subcontract work was awarded was $260 million as noted in the report. the cost is precisely within the range of
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>> i'll be pleased to answer
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your questions on these or any other issues. >> thank you mr. van dyke. >> chairman shays and members the commission. i'm regional director of project services and formally from 2008 until december 2010, director of the operation cementer in afghanistan, and i'm honored to brief the commission on unops work in afghanistan. we were established by the u.n. national assembly with a mission to implement peace building, humanitarian operations. we deliver approximately $1 billion through project implementation annually and spends $60 million administering it. it's a fee basis and has no core funding from the united nations. during periods of conflict or crisis, unops has a physical presence on the ground and engages governments and local
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communities. the services made the highest international standards. turning to afghanistan, unops had a delivery of infrastructure and other projects to the afghan people. it's funded by the afghan government and international community. one is the gazi boy school project. presently under construction, the project is funded by the u.s. government, u.s.-aid, and represents the best standards of construction in afghanistan. designed to meet the california building codes as well as the demand of a several thousand students, this is the best in the portfolio. after the problems in contracting, despite the real security related limitations, it's hard to implement projects in afghanistan. this is not meant to down play the security risk on the
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delivery of capital infrastructure programs. side preparation is key within any construction project, but in afghanistan, there's the additional complexity of land ownership, ideal sites, and the remanents of explosives from war. there's a range from very poor to very good. the situation makes construction management more essential if the investment made by the international community is to be effective. security in afghanistan is a major consideration for unops. they have been impacted by threats and intimidation from the various antigovernment and criminal elements operating across the country. unops found through long and sometimes bitter experience that infrastructure is not effectively delivered in afghanistan without the serious social inclusion effort working in parallel as well as the provision of security forces. unops does not at present use
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international security providers in afghanistan. we found that when allocate the appropriate resources, the national security forces and the minister of interior can be effective. they recently visited the project in kabul. that site is protected by interior on special assignment to unops. they have a close relationship with the u.n. government team and the ministries of finance, public works, rural rehabilitation and development and agriculture livestock. at present, over 80% of the project work is on agreements with the afghan government while the remainder is by lateral with australia, italy, sweden, and the usa. the close relationships between the unops and the afghan governments mean they are thoroughly involved in capacity
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building. we invested in the necessary training and systems to ensure the best practice is observed in infrastructure, project management. in wartime contracting, operational imperatives arrive that load to cutting corners. we have ensured we have the procedures in place to respond to project demands in an accountable manner. unpos observed for some years the investment in afghanistan has not included the concept of maintainability. unops design teams composed of local engineers ensures this is appropriate. recent experience emphasizes the need for safe buildings. the ghazi boy school that the commission soon visited is an example of safe high-quality maintainable and appropriate construction.
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this was not the case at the start of the project. we had to remove the initial contractor, not an ideal situation, but it led to a new contractedder to meet the deadlines on time. i hope my written statement has shown wartime construction in afghanistan has contract management to locations of specific challenges like security threats. the international's ongoing investment in the area indicatings the important contribution to peace building, humanitarian, and development objectives provided by infrastructure development. if also demonstrates that results can be achieved even in the most challenging environments. thank you again for the opportunity to brief the commission on this important subject, and i stand ready to answer any questions. >> thank you. let me tell you the order we'll proceed. we'll start with commissioner ervin, and then commission ehank
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-- henke and then myself. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to echo the chairman's comments at the beginning by thanking all four of you for being at the first hearing and returning for this one. we know how busy everyone is and thank you for accommodating our schedule. as you know. mr. van dyke, i want to spend the bulk of my time talking with you on the issue. just to get the facts on the record for those not present at the last hearing, there was a $266 million sole source contract awarded to black and veatch to provide power to kandahar, the real heart of the insurgency, and this was done in december of 2010 against a backdrop of having complained a
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number of times about your performance under the 2006 contract to provide power to kabul that the contract originally was projected to cost $100 million that ballooned to $300 million, and there were overruns in terms of time. the project was a year behind schedule. now, it is not fair, it seems to me, to blip black and veatch to issue the sole source contract. i think it is fair, though, whether you have any better justification for it than we were provided last time. we spent time talking about this november 29, 2010 justification that aid prepared for that kandahar contract, and there's two terms used in it to justify it. first, they say that you were uniquely qualified to perform this work, and then the term uniquely positioned is used. if you really read this document as i'm sure you have, it seems to me, really the ultimate
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reason why black and veatch was chosessen is because you were uniquely positioned meaning you were the only contractor on site. it also says that to get other contractors in would have taken a tremendous amount of time even though, again, you were sited just months earlier for being a year behind schedule with regard to kabul. >> commissioner ervin, there was a lot in that preamble. just one correction, the award was to black and veatch and not the joint venture, and it was to us directly. i think that -- i haven't seen the justification that our client wrote, but i believe we were both qualified and positioned. one thing that is not clear to the commission is that we had done an expensive study of power needs including projects necessary in the south for five provinces that included capped hair and helmand.
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we had a good understanding of the work up front, and that's important to know. the other thing that's important is you talked about past issues by u.s.-aid. you heard what we did sin that time, and i remember i was asked at the last hearing whether people were using evaluations of their contractors, and our latest evaluation is very, very positive, and i'd like to read just one comment from it. the execution of the power plant resulted in a high quality state of the art pour plant capable of meeting all requirements and providing reliable power for 6,000 afghan citizens for years to come. this was given to us -- the date that we received it was 2010 in may. >> what's the date of it? you received it in may of 2010, but what's the date of the document? >> it reports on 2008 to 2009.
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>> we'd like a copy of that. >> i'll get you a copy of that. >> thank you. now, you say you did a number of things between march 20, 2009, the last document that we have from aid complaining about your performance in kabul. between then in december 2010 when the kandahar plant contract was awarded to you, can you describe in document what improvements and performance you're referring to? >> some are in my original statement, so i'll go back to them. if you recall in the report, one the short term reasons for building the plant was fear that you couldn't get power through the neap -- nep power system, we were asked by the afghan government through u.s.-aid how can we get power? the creative engineers figured out how to do it in 35 days.
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.. >> my time is limited. let me stop you there. you have any reason as to why the work could not have been broken up into discrete parts? why was it necessary?
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>> the fact is that's exactly what usaid has asked us to do. we are a power generating company and that's what we do for living, and we're going to break up the work into parts. we're going to competitively did it and award did some competition. >> isn't that a function of the government ought to perform rather than the contractor bidding out the work? >> i think the major question is does the government have the ability to do the technical detail of dividing up technical work scope like a whole energy distribution transmission, generation system for the south. that's what we were asked to do. >> let me ask you about security. you talk in your statement about having the single biggest challenge that you have to get the work done with regard to kandahar. we understand that your security firm is blue heckel, is that right? >> that's the security firm we have at the tarakhil power plant right and which is the only job would have. tarakhil not mentioned anywhere
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here, we are providing training for operations and maintenance today, and so the only direct contractor we have is blue hackle. we have no contractors speedy's i understand that. spent we have no contractors. >> let's talk about the blue hackle contractor that you had at the kabul plant. we understand that the afghan government has called the contractor the major offender. is that right? can you give us any details as to what's behind the afghan government judgment? >> we're aware that there have been discussions with blue hackle and we've seen the press releases that relate to those things. blue hackle is to license to do work and provide license -- provide services at this point. so we are using them. we understand usaid is -- >> yes. my time is limited. if any and the afghan government determines that blue hackle can no longer perform this function, what are your plans to provide
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additional -- >> we are working with usaid, the ministry with interior in afghanistan, with our own working contractors, people doing the work to forget what are path forward is on security across the board. we do not have firm answers yet because i think this commission needs to understand is the security issues in afghanistan are evolving daily. i think dr. shah has been there this week. i know mr. thier is on his way back today. and we will talk with him about what they have learned, but there are not yet solution spent final question, the fact you don't have the contractor right now with regard to the kandahar plant, that surely poses some threat to the ability to perform with eye contact? >> we have some time because we are getting the equipment and subcontractors in place. we have some time but there's a window within which things need to be worked through. >> and what is the window? >> i would say the next six to eight weeks.
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>> thank you very much. >> thank you. dr. zakheim. >> thanks very much, mr. chairman. and thank you all for being here. i've got a few questions as well, a few from where my colleague left off. the first, mr. mccarron, did i hear you correctly that didn't think security was enough of a bar to your succeeding at what you've been asked to do? [inaudible] >> h.r. mic on? >> it is now. i was trying to indicate the security -- we can still chase right things in afghanistan as long as they are the proper risk analysis and make the proper measures to address the security? >> you believe you have, i take it? >> it's very difficult to say. at the moment we seem to have a very good record in the last two
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and a half years while i was director of the operations center. we just a few incidents, and i'm very thankful for that. but anytime things can go wrong. i think even today it was a big ied explosion. so you never know when something is going to go wrong. >> i take it all of you gentlemen support the idea of going to -- can you hear me now? just hold on one second. thank you for letting us know that. could we have staff sit in the back of the room, and if you can't hear, please let us know so the general audience can. i'll try again. is that better? >> can you hear the witnesses or the issue not -- >> canyon in the back now? still not. >> go for a.
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>> i take it you all support the idea of moving to cost-plus contract because of the security situation, is that correct? it is not. does anybody disagree with that? are you comfortable with the term fixed price? >> we actually did out subcontractors worked on a price basis. we do a lot of -- mr. mouzannar mentioned which is we try to specify the work scope that is biddable with no conditions so that it can be bid. in terms of subcontracting we do go from first -- fixed contracting. >> but for your own contracts you prefer what? >> cost-plus is appropriate. >> let me ask you this. given that the security situation has pretty much been the same since about 2005, and you've had overruns, but the
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security situation is no better. why do you continue to bid on fixed-price contracts? why did you bid on the 2010 contract? you're not going to lose money. unite in the business to lose money. supposed the government complied with all its requirements, given the secret he situation it would be your neck, wouldn't? so why do you being? >> the contract we have is a cost-plus contract. and i guess -- >> you wouldn't did if it was fixed-price? >> not on this particular work, no. >> okay. let me ask you this. the report of the sigar folks point out a number of things that were not a ids responsibility of, but yours are taken with subcontractors. you have ever had trouble doing things in time. do you have the same situation today? are all your subs lined up
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?-que?-quex hasn't been any delays at all since you signed on nearly a year now and? >> actually, the contract was signed on december 4 of 2010. so we have a couple of months, we have projects out for bid. we are getting back speculative anybody lined up and? >> yet, we have one contract ready to order. >> mr. mccarron, do you see yourself as a contractor century century have to raise your own money? >> interesting question. people have pondered over that for some time. no, we don't. unops, it has an implementation mandate from the u.n., and it doesn't have a political policy mandate. >> neither does any contractor i've ever heard. >> and we do approach things in a business like manner.
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we have to be efficient. we have to be very tight on our margins, and we have to perform. >> every contractor does that as well, right? >> but we don't have -- spent apart from that. >> apart from that we are a not-for-profit organization. >> but not for profits also have contracts, correct and they are contractors, greg? >> that's correct. we are supervised -- >> who checks your books? >> the executive board of unops, as well as the united nations board. speaks of the audit all your books? >> they do. >> and your accountable to the? >> yes, for the last two years. >> i've got a couple of minutes left. let me ask mr. mouzannar, when you hire a sub to provide
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security, how do you go about that? >> ensure. what we do, typically we have our internal security department here they might be a global contractor. we are practically -- we have a regimented internal, how do we vet and audit internally the procurement process. so in essence first we go through the typical financial business requirements but we physically go and visit with the locations and make sure that the contract has the appropriate systems and procedures that meet our requirements. >> that's a.i.d. ever come out and see your people in the feel? >> we don't work for a.i.d. >> black impeach, sorry. today, and see your people in the feel? >> yes. >> how often spirit it depends on the project.
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they been up to visit the projects where we're doing the iraqi power competition project so they come as necessary. >> what you define as necessary? >> at the tarakhil plant they were out their weekly as we're finishing to plant. i think they been up to the reactive our company probably three or four times in the last six months. i would have to check. >> sigar says they provide quality control. >> i think if you carefully read cigars report, he talked about quality assurance, but the main issue was on an indication. been no allegation that tarakhil power plant had any quality issues but it is a high quality plant. >> i guess i'm puzzled with these folks coming out every week, how come there's no indication? >> i think the communication improved a lot after january 2009. spirit that maybe but i still don't understand how there can
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be no indication prior to that. can you explain it to me. >> i don't think there was no indication. i think we improved communication. by the time we told the client that we would completed in 2009, in fact we -- >> you mean a year late? >> after we had the issue with the client. we did complete it late, but we did get our from the northern countries, uzbekistan, much earlier than anybody predicted and that was equivalent to the amount of power that would've been from the tarakhil power plant. >> thank you. my time is up. >> professor tiefer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. although chairman thibault could not be here today, i just want to acknowledge that like our previous panel on construction, i draw on his valuable leadership. he went out there. he saw these projects for
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himself. he was even correcting witnesses who may not even have seen those projects as much as he had seen them. so i can believe and follow his leadership. i want to build on commissioner ervin's recap, which was at the last hearing, as he said. we question aig about its sole-sourcing of the kandahar power initiative to black & veatch. this past december. at the last hearing sigar said it had an investigation of the kabul power plant coming, and what i understand to be a preliminary inquiry of the kandahar power award. and that i have questions about prior projects because if that project had been completed, black & veatch might have problems in the competition due to a history of unsatisfactory
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past performance here so, let me start with one of the energy projects that interests me. which was, mr. van, about your unsatisfactory past performance on aids project to assess a natural gas deal. for those trying to follow this, a.i.d. formally rated you after a year of the project over all as unsatisfactory, which is the rate on a scale from zero to five, and they rated it zero. i come in particular, they said my understanding is the position was that over all the contractor has to date that an unsatisfactory job in getting
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the project started. delays were due to unsatisfactory planning, about various things, and that the contractor missed every milestone date in its revised workplan. lack of coordination between offices also added to delays. my question is, do you at least acknowledge that you did get that overall unsatisfactory rating that would count against you in competition for new projects and kandahar? >> we did get a rating partly to the project. the client later terminate the contract for its own convenience and we are in the process of settling that oath with usaid and subcontractor. i think the view of the project is a little different today than it was and the time to read that. if you look at the sigar report in january 2010. >> okay. now let's go on -- thank you and i appreciate the brief answer. let's take the kabul power plant
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where you were given in the course of its construction, and you discuss back and forth an argument you have about why your performance wasn't why aids appear but a.i.d. rated you formally poor and unsatisfacto unsatisfactory. it had four ratings and as i understand, you got one unsatisfactory, to force, and one fair. i have to say i teach at the university of baltimore moscow and i have a diverse class there. but even the worst student in my class, when you rate on a scale from zero to five that's better than getting zero, two ones, and one-2. the key here was scheduled that they thought that the delays in the schedule of the plan could be attributed to the following performance deficiencies of the
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prime contractor, including again that the contractor has missed several scheduled milestones. did they give you ratings like that, and was a critical in that way of your missing milestones? >> they gave us those ratings partway through the project. i read to you and i were read against their latest one which is the execution of the powerpoint have resulted in a high quality state-of-the-art power plant capable of meeting all technical requirements and able to provide reliable power for up to 600,000 afghan citizens for many years to come. i think the other thing you need to realize is, as i said in my statement, when we had issues with a subcontractor we stepped up and solve the problem and we did it two ways. one was to get power from uzbekistan much earlier than anybody got to kabul. >> i understand. spent and the second issue was that we did step in and finish the plant faster speed and i understand after that rating, yes. let me ask because commissioner
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ervin focus well on the fact that the jna for sole-sourcing is said that you were -- sole-sourcing the kandahar power initiative that you are uniquely positioned. i want to start -- this had two parts, and i discussed at the last panel with mr. thier, the a.i.d. chief, and he agreed, you knows it was possible to separate into two halves, 1100 miles away, diesel plant in kandahar. what i want to ask about first is the damn part. although there have been previous work -- the dam part. in 2009, louis berger completed rehabilitation of the second of two working turbines at the
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power plant. the work was not done primarily by you at the power plant, but louis berger. isn't that right, in fact, you have said you don't want to take responsibility for the problems of your partner at that plant. haven't you said that you deny you ate any responsibility for the problems with the kajaki dam because you certainly berger handled that part of a joint contract? >> it's a long question, mr. tiefer. let me clarify one thing. 6% of the total cost of the kandahar project is the kajaki dam. 6% of the major part of the work that has to be done in kandahar -- excuse me, kajaki dam, nobody else has done that were. i told you at the beginning, we've done an extensive study of the power demands, to aid the projects necessary in the south. there are 11 separate projects
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in the recently awarded contract. we did not do the work on the dam that was done prior, but we do to hydropower work. we are a power company. >> i think you did not do the work that was done prior? >> that's correct. >> you are not uniquely positioned to follow up that were. my time is almost expired. >> mr. van dyke, he referred to a later review. what is the date of that? >> it's the one we received -- i told you we received it in me. it's 2008-nine. >> can you make that available to our staff? was there anything in that review that was not couple of entry? >> they acknowledge that early on in the project we had difficulties but we have stepped up and solve for them. so yes, they did talk about them spend back if you would allow one of our staff to take that, would like to -- >> i can e-mail it to you. >> no know. we want to make a reference to it. if one of the staff would get
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that document, please. >> i would just like to see it now if possible. >> can i just interrupt? >> as long as i have a copy back you can ask me any question. >> one seconds. we're going to make a copy for the commission members right now if we would. and they will get it right back to you. will not ask any question about and to get a copy back. >> mr. chairman, you are referring to the evaluation, cracked? >> no. that was 2008-9. >> that was the species referring to an earlier one. >> this is the one -- >> yes. >> thank you. you will get a copy back. >> okay. >> mr. hanky, please. >> i would like to ask each of you some questions about security. mr. mckelvy, in your statement you say security risk is our
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first concern and along with safety and remains our primary concern throughout projects life. mr. mouzannar, you talk about access and you can't get to do site surveys and tell they are secure. and unexploded ordnance in getting a progress. mr. van dyke, you clearly state that your largest single challenge is the security environment in afghanistan. and mr. mccarron you say in your statement that your staff have been directly impacted by abductions, ieds, threats and intimidation from various anti-government and criminal elements in the country. so i would like to ask each of you just were simple yes or no answer to the question of come is security your number one, your foremost challenge and operating in afghanistan? >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> with that as background, how
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would you assess, how do you assess as a company trying to execute contracts, how do you assess the extent of your reliance on your security provision, your security contractors or in your case, mr. mccarron, afghan forces that torture projects? if you had to assess your extent of reliance on a scale from one to five, one being not reliant if there was no security tomorrow, my projects would continue unimpeded, 25, heavily dependent, extremely reliant on that security. without that security it would come to a stop. just give me a numerical assessment of your extent of reliance and discuss for a few seconds the impact of that on your company. transport? >> i would say it is probably a format. for ch2m hill he'll reconsider
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the security of our people. there's many opportunities that we will not pursue if we deem them to dangers. so we really look to come in this case, the professional security companies to provide security for us. and should they become not available then we would reassess our interest and working in afghanistan. >> does that mean one of the options would be leaving? >> that's correct. >> mr. mouzannar? >> i would echo the same comment made by mr. mckelvy, except that -- >> numerically? >> i would say more of a fight for us except projects out there, one which you would refer to as within the wire and others outside the why. obviously, within the wire such as at bagram, it would be a less of an issue, especially with fixed wing flights going in and out of these bases. so for the outside of the wire, a definite five.
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about a three for others. >> okay. think. you are drawing a distinction between whether you're behind a fence with u.s. forces or whether you're outside the wire, is that your distinction? >> none of our work is inside the wire. so i would say we're in a fortified range. security is very important to us. the situation is changing so weird we are working on solving the problems but our first requirement is keeping our people safe. >> thank you. mr. mccarron? >> similarly with unops, how i figure as well, for the five. and, of course, priority is the case to keep people safe. we operate umbrella under the united nation secured also. so it's not just unops decided on its contractors. it's the whole of the united nations that we have to listen to in terms of safety and security and where we can put our people. that does complicate where we can send our staff are.
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>> with the understanding that security is your number one challenge, but you are all extremely reliant on security, how do you as a company, the three of you are contracting subcontracting for that security, how do you as a company ensure the quality of your private security? what vetting process if you go through, to what standards do you look? to your contractors have, your security contractors, do they have certain professional standards that you hold into? how do you ensure the quality, transport? >> thank you. similar to what we said before we have an internal group that does an assessment of the companies that we had to choose from. in the case of afghanistan, we have three different companies that we use across the country based on what our investigation has found, their strengths are regionally. >> what are the company's? >> we use all of, blue hackle and cohort.
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what we found when we first went into the country is we use companies that were already in use in the area and that we got a good feedback from others as well as the u.s. government who uses the same countries to a certain extent from time to time. so they were prequalified in that respect, and they continue to serve us well over the last three years. >> to your companies subscribe to what people refer to as the swish initiatives for private security? >> i'm not familiar with the swish and it is but i'm sure our security folks are. >> as i indicated earlier we have a very regimented security process that goes through prequalification, and that is only receiving documents but also on the spot looking at facilities. we ought all the way to the mechanic that is changing the tire, making sure they have processes and systems and very regimented reporting that we would get. we have an internal security, corporate security group that does all of that, and keeps
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close tabs on that. the other piece of the puzzle is when we go to different regions, we look at establishing companies that are there from our prequalified a list of companies because of the knowledge on the ground in being able to get. >> thank you. mr. van dyke. >> we have a corporate security operation that helps us figure out what we need to do. we have individuals in afghanistan who have security background to help us also if i were contractors. >> black & veatch employee's? >> yes. we routinely keep in touch with the region secure the officer with what's going on in the area. and we evaluate contractors based on past expense and past practice. >> and with unops we have an in house security team of some internationals but mostly afghans who know the security environment. we have close liaison with the minister of interior. ..
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>> they were cited as a major offender. they employed 1, 358 guards more than they're allowed, they used embassy vehicles for off-base, nondiplomatic purposes. how dud your system -- did your system of quality assurance not catch that? or did it catch that? >> in essence, it did. we immediately contacted senior management -- >> well, you came across the slip, the press report? >> obviously, in terms of --
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>> yeah. >> they have two different -- >> you came across what information? >> >> well, we had, obviously, seen -- >> okay. so you saw it in the press and then responded? >> correct. >> okay. so your quality assurance system found none of it before, right? >> well, again -- >> is that right? >> correct. >> so you saw it in be the press, and then what'd you co? >> as you know, in the press, you can get all kinds of free reports that come out. >> right. >> so there were a lot of discussions in terms of the information. >> uh-huh. >> and at that point we had the change in security subcontractor from the one site that they're operating at with a different company. although my understanding now -- >> you said you fired -- >> no, we did -- it was almost a request from their part because they were still trying to resoft the issues with -- resolve of the issues with the presidential decree that was -- >> okay. >> so, in essence, it was a
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request that they came back, you know, to try to -- >> okay. but you told me your system checks down to the guy who changes the tires. >> sure. >> but you found none of these -- your system of checking your subcontractor found none of these discrepancies before the press picked it up? >> my understanding is different groups that operate in afghanistan in support of the u.s. government -- >> who operates for you? >> >> we have a whole group within g force that we interact with -- >> i'm over my time but one brief last question, just yes or no. do your private security providers, are they on fixed price, lowest-price acceptable contractsome? >> yes. best value selection. >> best value, not lp today? >> no.
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>> sir? >> doesn't apply. >> okay. so yours are fixed price? >> they are. we provide the scope of work. we actually develop the scope of work and provide pricing for providing the resources. >> thank you. my time is expired. >> gentlemen, again, thank you for being here. i -- we're going to be issuing our second interim report next week, and it's focused on legislative changes, some regulatory changes, maybe an executive order or two. um, we, we're wrestling with a lot of issues that i'm sure you wrestle with as contractors. first off, the combination of participants or, basically, the military, our government civil servants, contractors. then you have, obviously, contractors who are domestic to the united states and overseas.
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we wrestle with the fact that we'd like to know what that balance is and nearly half as many military, we have an equal number of contractors. we started out thinking that we just needed to oversee contractors better and manage them better, and that was a management issue. then we began to realize that if we couldn't properly manage them, maybe we shouldn't do it. and it gets into this whole issue of waste, fraud and abuse. you have waste in projects badly done, but you have waste in projects that are not sustainable, not culturally appropriate and so on. we've seen a significant number of projects we believe are not sustainable, and you wonder culturally absurd. why would we build an atrium in a school building?
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the heating costs? you've got to, basically, bring in the diesel fuel and so on. when you see something that appears to be so stupid, why would we do it, and what is the obligation for contractor when you're asked by a gooft to do it? >> mr. chairman, the atrium that you refer to is actually not an atrium. i provided a supplementary -- >> let me back up. forget the atrium. >> okay. [laughter] u.s. standards. why? >> there were two major earthquakes, one in china, one in pakistan. we don't see buildings we build kill children. and so usaid decided to impose the seismic design conditions to
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the california building code on the structure. that, then, determined -- because the site limitations, we were going to a three-story building. that then determined -- >> why would you build a three-story building? why not one story? why three stories? why would we do that? do you have to use steel to build a three-story building? >> yes, we do. it's a reinforced concrete structure. and we're servicing over 5,000 students and on a limited site. the ghazi school is hoe candidated within -- located within a short distance of the parliament, the old part of the city. so the available land was -- >> why a school for 5,000 students? >> that's the number of children that are being serviced at the moment. >> why not two schools, why not three? i'm just trying to understand why we would build buildings like this that then have huge energy costs, etc. so, i mean, isn't there a part of you that says maybe that
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wasn't the way to go? you're going to build what you're paid to build, but what we're trying to do is wrestle with, what is the role of a contractor when we are doing things that, you know, are so different than what's there? what is the role of the contractor? mr. mckelvey, what is the role of the contractor? >> i think we have the responsibility to point out issues that are not culturally appropriate through the process of construction. when you look back on our experience in afghanistan, certainly several years ago there was quite a bit of united states standard being put into projects that, perhaps, was not applicable, i think was mentioned on the last panel. >> let me go through this a little more quickly. what is the rolesome. >> well, our role is to bring in design the engineering to try to min nice poise the instances where you need the very extensive operation and maintenance. it's keeping it basic, keeping it simple.
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that's our rule. >> keeping it basic, keeping it similar l. mr. van ciek? -- van dyke? >> i would add that it's also our job to operate with the training. >> mr. mckelvey, is there an instance when you had a conflict with what you were being asked to do because you thought it was culturally insensitive, not sustainable? any examples you can share with us? >> there's been examples where we installed on an international building code and we've been asked to change to the other codes. >> so you did it? >> that's correct. >> so there's nothing, you're not given a document that allows you to put a protest in or at least be on record as saying this does not make sense? >> no, there's dialogue with the client, dialogue with the team
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that we feel -- >> how do you document it? if i were a contractor and i was being asked to do something i thought didn't make sense, i would at least want some documentation. >> there's documentation in correspondence. >> would you give us any documentation where you've actually said this doesn't make sense? >> we'll provide that for you. >> thank you very much. i'll ask you the same question. >> same situation. i think the work that we're doing in afghanistan predominantly is with afcee. there's a lot of that communication. and beyond the client/contractor communication, we periodically get together as contractors and share lessons learned. actually there's some good case studies that we'd be happy to share how the contracting community worked with afcee, come back with some standard designs. >> i'd like an example where maybe you have objected to something being done. you know, whether you did it or not, once you've gone on record,
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you're going to do it. but i'd like an example of it. >> i meant more of an example of a positive situation where all together came in. i would have to research to see if there were instances where we came back and said, no, it doesn't make sense. >> mr. van dyke? >> i can think of two recommendations for change. one was the one i mentioned in my statement where engines in kandahar were being shipped out for overhaul and we trained them to overhaul them themselves. the second is the issue with the kabul plant where we recommended if you're going to have the capability, wait for a while to use it until you get people trained on operating a diesel plant. and i could go into why as you want the details. >> thank you. >> i'd like to, perhaps, propose the kabul women's university -- sorry, kabul university women's dormitory as an example of where appropriate policy has been put in place and that the building
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was not only refurbished, but the infrastructure was established, the training, the personnel to insure that the facility was looked after and maintained, that students were enrolled and seen through to their graduation. so it was fully working before it was handed over, so the ministry of higher education had the capacity to keep it going. too often we build nice, shiny buildings and hand them over -- >> the sustainability is appreciated, but i just wanted to ask do you have any example of where you were asked to do something that you thought was wasteful or inappropriate and, therefore, went on record as saying we shouldn't do this? >> not so far. >> okay. well, what's a little unsettling about your answers is that we know there are a number, and the fact that somehow you're not encouraged to do that and wouldn't, you know, want to be on record documented we didn't want to do this, this and this, i would have found a all littlee
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encouraging. going to -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. van dyke, thank you for making this document available to us. it is an evaluation that -- i can't find a date here, but it appears it had to have been done sometime after 8/31/2009 because that's the final completion date of the kabul project. and as you say, it does give an overall rating of good to black & veatch and commends you for the work you did. i would just note for the record, though, that it's not a bouquet. the two issues that were highlighted earlier, cost overruns and time delays are noted here. the rating was given a two, a fair. and it's interesting what it says here -- >> can i interrupt a second? we're all going to be taking on eight-minute questions, so you may start over again. >> thank you. since your cost records and
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documentation was very good and complete in line with requirements and good cost control practices, so you were given kudos for keeping record properly. it goes on to say, however, the project budget escalated substantially from original estimates, that's the 100 million to 300 million or whether or notes. >> to the initial estimates were in the 40-240-290 range. >> [inaudible] >> 2-300. it's actually a little under that, but that's what the cost estimate was. so it did go up, and that was a result of the subcontract issue i talked about. that is the subject of a dispute resolution, and we've been asked not to talk about it further until the dispute is resolved. >> even asked by a.i.d.? >> no, no. i sent a note to you, maybe you haven't seen it. we have a dispute that is being resolved before the
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international chamber of commerce arbitration panel, they've asked both parties motto talk publicly about the issue before it's resolved. >> i look forward to following up on that. >> with by the way, nobody would be happier than i to talk more about that, but i do need to respect what the arbitration tribunal found. >> i appreciate that. we'll talk to the panel about that. it also notes, of course, the timeliness issue. >> yes. >> you've been very transparent and forthcoming, and i appreciate that. in that spirit, are there other -- presumably there are -- are this other documents; letters, memos, etc., from a.i.d. to black & veatch between the last communication that we had, march 2009, and december 2010 when the kandahar plant was -- other than -- >> this is the only evaluation we received since the one that you had. >> do you have any other communications other than
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evaluations -- letters, memos, e-mails, anything? >> i'm sure we have thousands of letters and e-mails. we provide them with daily and weekly reports. >> would you be willing to make a representative sample of those documents available? >> i guess i could talk to your staff about what would be representative. >> do you have any internal audits? are you done any -- have you done any internal audits of the kabul plant? >> not specifically the kabul plant. >> do any of those audits cover the kabul plant? >> no, they did not. >> so you haven't done any internal assessments of the kabul plant? i find that hard to believe. >> no. >> okay. finally, i was interested in your agreement that the preference for black & veatch would be cost-plus contracts, but you say that you use firm-fixed contracts for your subcontracting. why the difference there? >> well, i think the difference is in the work scope.
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you're asked -- we are asked to go figure out how to get distribution, transmission and dollar generation -- >> all right, let me stop you there. >> yeah. >> is the government -- [inaudible] would you prefer to have firm-fixed contracts? >> if many musen art laid out some requirements, you can get adequately known conditions. that would be something we would consider. >> but not pledge to? >> something we'd consider. i've told you all very honestly that the biggest problem we face is security in afghanistan, and that's an issue that has to be addressed. >> both of you in your testimony, in your written testimony, your oral testimony, you've laid out to me some really common sense call things that would make life for contractors easier. thing like making sure the ordnance is removed beforehand, giving you access to topographic
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reports, taking cultural practices into consideration, etc. presumably, you two, your staffs, have raised these issues with the appropriate people in the united states government, right? and if so, what's the answer to that? why do we continue to do this? following the line of the chairman's questions. >> i think there has been improvement over time. when you draw the distinct between when we with all, together with afcee, for example, started doing work in afghanistan, there's been a great improvement since then. there's still room for improvement with respect to consistency of standards that we're asked to build to and design to across the life cycle of the project, but there has been measurable improvement. >> i agree with that. one thing i'd like to add is, also, i think these types of common sense measures happen more and more on idiqs or framework contracts where an agency would work and interact with contractors. i think some of the issues, is where there are one-off contracts that are procured
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outside these idiys. -- idiqs. especially there are some projects that come up as urgent or mission critical where there is no time to conduct any of these types of analyses. and i think the temptation would be to just get them out. and i think this is something that, hopefully, the commission and others would look into, is what are these instances where projects were just let out on a lump sum without that, you know, all of the common sense issue. and then, also, the linkage between these actions, the way it afejts -- effects the supply chain and subcontractors if these things happen and the contractors fail, what is the effect on the community. >> thank you. and finally let me ask you a couple questions about security. we understand security for you is provided by a company called g4? >> that's one of the units.
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olive group is the current company that is helping us out. >> with so you no longer use g4? >> they elected that they were going to retract because of the presidential decree that was going on, so they were practically pulling out at the time. so we went in with a different company. >> so you're not -- just to be clear, you're not using g4. >> i'll have to double check. my understanding is, no, but i will confirm that and let the staff know. >> thank you. >> mr. mccarron, you mentioned earthquakes in china and pakistan. where in pakistan? >> there were, it was major earthquake in pakistan in the mid 2000s. >> but where? that's a pretty big country. >> exactly. but i can't tell you -- it was very well broadcast. >> was it close to the afghan border? >> i'm sorry, i can't say exactly where. >> what about china? was that close to the afghan
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border? >> no. but the seismic conditions in afghanistan are such that the risk of earthquake is similar or higher. >> when was the last earthquake in be kabul? i'm just curious. >> the last earthquake in kabul that i felt personally was just last year. but not, of course, wasn't substantial. but there's regular tremors in afghanistan -- >> that's finement but when you go to california standards, it's much more than tremors, right? >> yes, of course. but afghanistan is a severe seismic area. >> kabul? >> and kabul included. kabul has had a devastating earthquake in its history. >> when was that? >> it was in the last century where it destroyed the famous walls of kabul. >> that's a while ago. okay. question for several of you gentlemen. you all said that security was the biggest concern you have.
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mr. mckelvey, do you have any firm-fixed price contracts right now? >> yes, we do. >> why'd you bid on them? >> we've gotten better at doing work in afghanistan, and we will bid on a contract when we determine that the schedule is achievable and it's within the fence, so to speak, it's within the purview of the military. >> outside the fence -- >> outside the fence we would not. >> okay. >> we have one firm-fixed price project that is within the fence, inside the fence, and the reason because -- >> right. it's in the fence. but you have nothing else? >> not in afghanistan. >> and you as well? >> correct. >> and you, mr. mccarron? all right. question on -- >> mr. mccarron, we couldn't hear your answer. >> he said no. >> thank you. >> the electrical equipment that you actually install, was that t to the u.s. or to the british standard, mr. van dyke?
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>> it depends on the circumstances, primarily u.s. standard. >> can you explain to me why since the afghans use british standard? when we leaf -- >> well, i think we have made sure the interfaces work. >> the interfaces worksome. >> right. >> but if afghans -- but that makes it more costly. obviously, anyone who's ever used a shaver in london knows an interface -- why are we doing that? is a.i.d. telling you to do that? >> no, they're not, and be i actually have to retract what i said because i i know, for example, on the piping for the kabul power plant, we used dim piping. so i need to probably check the specifics, but i don't think we're doing u.s. standards overall. >> uh-huh. primarily british standards? >> i think primarily, yes. >> okay. mr. mccarron? >> i think the criteria is international standards and that it'll take the most appropriate or the best for the country. generally, the international community and the afghan government require international
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standards. they don't want us to put in any old thing. >> those tend to be not one concern. [inaudible] >> definitely not. >> the american. how about you, mr. mckelveysome. >> the work that we do is initially done to the international building code and certain times we might be asked to do it to the nec code in the united states. >> i how often is certain timesesome. >> well, the preponderance of the work we've done is to the international building code. on some of our work recently at camp phoenix we were asked to recertify the wiring to nec twows -- 2000 standards. >> not to my knowledge. >> we also in the same way we are required to follow the international building code. so it's practically the same, the same answer. and, yes, we are checking
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against, say, the u.s. standards on all of our facilities. >> okay. mr. mckelvey, i'm going to pick up on something that my colleague, commissioner henke, stated with respect to a different company. did i hear you correctly, you've got blue hackles as a subsome. subsome -- sub? >> that's correct. >> well, they, apparently, have employed 385 unregistered weapons, et, etc., and they're at camp eggers which is pretty easy to figure out having been there what they're up to. how come they're still your subs? >> this has come to our knowledge just recently -- >> you mean because of the article in "the washington post"? >> that's correct. >> with you mean to say you didn't notice a thing until you picked up "the washington post"? >> well, what i can say is the blue hackle has done a good job for us, and we use them specifically in kabul. and these allegations that
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you're referring to are something that our security brief is investigating right now. >> so you had absolutely no ink inkling this was going on even though kabul was as safe as anywhere in the country and camp camp -- how often do you guys run a check on these folks? >> we have security people that are in the theater with corporate security who are currently, you know, and continually involved with those contractors. so i'd have to get you more information in regard to if they found out before i heard about it personally. but chances are they've been on top of it way ahead of the press release. >> be okay. if they were on top of it, i'd certainly be interested and i'm sure my fellow commissioners would be in seeing whatever report was sent back giving you a heads up. because if this was going on, i'm kind of puzzled -- and maybe it's just me -- but i'm puzzled why you continue to retain them. >> well, we'll certainly
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evaluate that. >> okay. last question. for each of you. in the past there have, clearly, been issues regarding house statements of -- how statements of work are defined by a.i.d. or your other clients. when you get an s.o.w. that's not clear, have you gone back to the u.s. government agency and said, look, this is not clear? be can you give me an instance of when you do that? i want to go through the line. mr. mckelvey, can you give me an instance after when you said this is just unworkable, and it's going to take longer, etc., etc. >> i'm certain that happens on a frequent basis because of the contingent environment. many of our projects are scoped before the full details are known, sometimes even a year to a year and a half before troops arrive at the location, for example. so we've come back, and we've, we can probably provide you many examples where we've asked clarifying questions on scopes of work as how many people, when
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will those people be there, etc. and so forth, and in many causes the client -- cases the client cannot tell us that due to wartime strategies. >> and those circumstances you still sign on to the contract? >> we proceed, those are cost-plus contracts, and we proceed on -- >> then it's no-lose for you. the government, of course, has to explain why they're doing that, but that's not your problem. >> that's right. >> from our standpoint when we cannot get answers, we don't bid. we have never bid a project where the scope of work was not up to our, you know, level of -- >> in the last three years, how many projects did you walk away from? >> about a billion and a half maybe. >> oh. if you could give us any examples of that, that'd be helpful. >> sure. >> mr. van dyke? >> we typically, under our joint venture contract, have gotten requests for proposals, and we go pack and forth on declining what the projects are before we finally arrive at something. one other comment i'd like to make, there is an issue for
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contractors on cost-plus. what you do is you agree to a given cost, and if you go over that cost, you don't get any more product. >> unless the government gives you new instruction. >> unless the government changes the work scope. >> which it always does? >> well, not always. >> how often does the government not change the work scope. what percent of the time, 10, 20, 30? >> sir, i don't have that off the top of my head. >> oh, give me a rough -- >> i have no idea. >> but it's frequent? infrequent? >> i can tell you that on the work scopes that we've had even when there have been time frame delays in getting the work done, we've held the cost. that's the best i can tell you. >> mr. mccarron, how about you? s.o.w.s, what do you do? >> well -- [inaudible] on all of our relationships with usaid, one example would be the ghazi school -- >> yeah. >> where initially usaid had a
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design competition for that school and then awarded the winner. and then come to unops and during that initial phase we went pack to usaid and talked about solar efficiency and we changed the design in consultation with them. they came back to us and told us that we had to have disabled access, for instance, to american standards. and so that was incorporated. so it was to and fro in relation to developing the final design for the ghazi school. >> you said to american standards, how sensible are all these american standards in the afghan context? >> well, in the case of the one i'm referring to, the americans with disabilities act standard for the access ramp which resulted in the linkway between the buildings, the main school buildings. >> are there many americans in those schools? >> no. but there's kids in wheelchairs
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that need to be able -- >> americans with disabilities act, last time i checked, that was an american law. thank you. >> [inaudible] >> thank, mr. chairman. mr. van dyke, let's focus for a second with respect to the kandahar power initiative on the kandahar diesel plant that you're to build. your opening statement alluded indirectly to the fact that iap, another big construction firm, was awarded a $51 million contract, fixed-firm price, for the other power plant in the kandahar industrial park. and be you made, and it's entirely appropriate for you to make comparisons to show you are
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competitive in terms of what you charge. but what i want to ask is were you so uniquely positioned to use the words, the justification for sole sourcing, so uniquely positioned that there couldn't have been competition by iap, the builder in the same industrial park of a power plant, and if there had been such competition, wouldn't your unsatisfactory past performance ratings have been evaluated? >> i think that all of our performance, past performance evaluations would have been rated, and there are a large number of them, many of them in the excellent and outstanding category. so i would hope they would look at all of them, number one. number two, it's for usaid to say if they could get another qualified client, or competitor, but i will tell you what i said before, we had done an extensive study of all the requirements defining -- >> thank you. thank you. i know, mr. van dyke. i was -- we'll take it that
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you're not -- we'll take it as what was just asked and answered. ..
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>> one to four, the first four, and five and six these separate. and then i said again, couldn't they potentially be separated? mr. thier, yes dear i said they could be separable. keep disagreed as to whether they should have been separated and so forth but we reached that point. what i want to ask, you must know, or i hope you know, the major breakdowns cost twice of that project. wouldn't be substation and the dam been at least out of the 255 million, 80 million, at least 89 in terms of cost breakdowns? >> i don't care the numbers in my head but my recollection is it was not that high.
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>> okay. among other questions for the record can ask for the cost breakdowns? >> i think usaid needs to provide those, but let me talk to usaid about that. >> okay. now, i want to go to the issue of delay in your prior projects. not only because this has to do with how it would have been if kandahar power initiative had been competed, but even more fundamentally the kandahar project is urgent timewise, not like other projects, because general petraeus himself we were told by a.i.d. in the most direct way, general petraeus himself said he needs it as soon as possible, he's got a counterinsurgency to fight in kandahar province. that's the reason that we got from a.i.d. as to why they sole source it at why. the extreme urgency as part of a
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counterinsurgency strategy and they allude to that end the jna. looking at a kabul power plant seems to me that we have comments by a.i.d. i.t. and sigar. i'm reading from sigar, not years ago but in january of 2010. they said usaid afghanistan contended it was unable to assist the contractor in the the the forward because the contractor did not convey critical information to the mission promptly enough to be useful. they say the nation any a.i.d., and ted had it known all the problems contract was experiencing, it could have intervened sooner to help solve the problems? >> so we have sigar on this. we had a.i.d. ig on this come and we're finally a.i.d. itself when it the view i rating as i previously said on business
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relations from a kabul power plant. the contractor failed to maintain proper business relations with usaid, for instance, the contractor has not notified usaid of construction delays and other critical issues in a timely manner so that corrective action could be taken to expedite performance. do you acknowledge that this same critique of you has been put forth that delay critique because you didn't want to be the bearer of bad news for usaid, by the a.i.d. a.i.d., sigar and a.i.d. itself speak was what i would call your attention to, commissioner tiefer, and the subsequent work we've done, you have comments from this latest evaluation of us, we changed what we did. we stepped up what we did. we got power to couple earlier than anyone thought in the northeast, and we finished the plan. i think that speaks for itself. speemac looking down the road,
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there's one piece at one time had been considered for the kandahar power initiative, but was automated, no fault of anybody. that was to have a transmission line built in that period of time, the media period of time between the kajaki dam and helmand. the user community which is around the city of kandahar. and my understanding is that a.i.d. would have liked to have had such transmission in areas as security is so poor in area you want to put on anybody to try to build a transmission line at this time. so that means they're going to have to compete it out in the future, rather they will have to award it out in the future. i'm, this is a practical matter. rtu positions since you're going to be doing the work at the helmand and other transmission line and you're going to be
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doing the work at the kandahar and of the line, haven't you positioned yourself so that you basically have a lock when if i come to award the transition? >> commissioner tiefer, i think that's a position for usaid but i would say they have competition on the street right now for energy and water. i think they plan to award at least five specified. so i suspect there will be competition speemac thank you mr. guerre. doctors implant has a question speemac -- doctors that -- that's fundamentally different if you are doing something very, very different from what you were doing in kandahar, correct? you were advising the government. you weren't building -- >> what we had to do was use knowledge of how already built systems work. that's sometimes more difficult to our engineers had to be very creative internet how to use all of these facilities that have
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been built by a bunch of different donors that were not to the standards that you talk about where they're all the same standard. and our creative engineers did figure out how to do that. frankly, it's easier to design and all yourself and don't have to figure how do you do something that's already in place. >> did you help draft the agreements based on that knowledge? >> would talk about two different things. getting the power down -- >> i'm not asking about -- >> we advise them on how? we were consultants on the power purchase agreements. we told people how to integrate the transmission lines on moving the power down. as i told you, that's a more difficult project than just designing and building it yourself. >> thanks. >> mr. henke. >> mr. van dyke, your statement mentions very clearly april 2010 your guesthouse in kandahar was
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described by an explosive device. and deny to be exactly injured and all other expatriates from the area. so expats had to bug out and leave. >> yes. >> can you tell us about the incident? >> what happened is been laden with explosives made it past the personal line of defense and the security that was there. they made it to the gate of the quarters, and at that point they succeeded in detonating the van. and i haven't shown you the pictures. >> can you show us the picture for the record, please? >> brian, do you have the picture? i don't think you can see from there but that gives you some idea of the explosion. so there were five people in the house at the time, three were injured. to were not. one of them was severely injured and will probably never return to work. so we evacuated them first to
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the base, the military base, and then by helicopter to kandahar -- stephen, the kabul and then finally for the injured parties out to dubai. >> who was providing security? >> i believe blue hackle. that was not our security by the way. it was a shared compound and i would have to check it was providing it at the time speak of shared by yourself and -- >> other subcontractors. and it was their security contractor, not ours. i would have to double check but i will if you like. >> mr. mckelvy communicate clear pecking order. use the ex-pat private streak of us have proven to be much more reliable than afghan own private security companies. is that correct? >> yes, that's correct. >> in the picking order where would you put afghan security forces, meaning afghan police and afghan soldiers? where would you put afghan government security?
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>> i'm not sure that i could categorize them specifically. we just don't know that much about afghan security forces. so internally we are able to see demonstrated results in a private security firms, ex-pat privacy breeder's cup and we have seen a demonstrated track record. >> mr. mouzannar, any use on afghan security forces? >> we believe that obviously at some point it would be a good idea to turn over the security to the afghans, but at the moment i repeat that they are not ready yet. >> so your view is they are current capability, they are not viable? >> and also come and no recourse is for us to vet afghan elements. >> you can vet your subs but you cannot the afghan government? >> that's correct. >> mr. van dyke? >> we're working through how we will provide security. i can't tell you all the answers right now. >> how do you afghan city
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forces? >> i think everybody agrees that the minister does not have the level of people to do it right now so the question is how do we get there. >> so three companies here have private security, mr. mccarron, you're different in that you have high choice, by deliberate choice for a reason i would like you to explain, you use afghan security forces and you say we have found that, the a n. s. f. can be effective. why did you choose afghan security, not private security? >> that is correct. we've had success with using minister of interior, especially over the years. we found of course it's not always easy. we have to maintain liaison with the ministry. and with the particular forces we call it -- they are dedicated to us. so we can establish a report with that team to travel with all of our missions.
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it has been effective. but i would like to add i think compared to my colleagues here at the table, we are probably in order of magnitude smaller than the projects they are administering. >> but why do you choose, why is it consistent in your view to choose government security oversight? >> i think it is certainly meets with the cited objectives of the afghan government to be responsible for their own security. it's been developed over the years, and with the relationship with the afghan government and that most of the work we do is through the ministry of finance or the relevant line ministries looking out for public works or whatever. and so we have a reason to change that. -- we have no reason to change that. we don't sit back and let it happen. it does require a lot of work. we have to have our own in house
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specialty people, and also rely on our close coordination with the united nations department of safety and security in afghanistan and their context to make sure what we've got is an effective resource. >> are you any different threat environment? is what you are working on is a low threat and that makes it different? >> i don't believe so. we are operating throughout afghanistan. we are building roads in kandahar. >> all of your activities with afghan national security force, you found them to be suitable. if you're they're building a school or building a road to get the afghan government more capability, you find at least logically consistent that you want to use afghan security forces after curtis david capability? >> we to. >> let me make an observation. it seems to me that we're asking companies, organizations to go outside the wire, step outside of our, outside the fence and go
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into a war zone. we call it a counterinsurgency. we call it a contingency. the bottom line is it's a war zone. so we are asking noncombatants like yourselves and your employees and your subcontractors, step outside and go into this war zone and build something in an environment where someone else wants to blow it up or give you. i think that's about as simply as i can conceive of it. in that environment we are bringing to bear an element of national power in afghanistan, private industry, private expertise to bring things about that we want to have. in that environment where we are having, i'll be euphemistic to say we having challenges with private security and having challenges with afghan security, would you prefer security to be provided by u.s. or coalition troops? they been referred to before this commission as the gold standard for security. all else being equal wouldn't you rather, would you prefer doing your work guarded by u.s.
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troops, mr. mckelvy? >> by and large that is the case on many of our projects where the project is on site and we are totally encircled by u.s. forces inside the wire. >> tell me about outside the wire spee-2 if it could be provided with the resources that be preferable speak out okay. >> depending again on the type of projects, sometimes our way of engaging are doing business is to keep a low profile. obvious in some cases our business model is we use 95% afghan workers. we don't want to get to the point where we change that. but yet at the same time he should have a reliable security system there that we could vet. >> would you prefer u.s. troops? >> not necessarily. we need to keep a low profile. >> mr. van dyke? >> it's a complex and went to work with people in kandahar to
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generate power. we have to work with the utility to build the things are going to build we have to interact with them. there's some thought that having the u.s. military presence makes things a higher profile for attack. so what we need to think through come and we're working through it today, we do not have the answer is how we go about doing that. you know, sometimes in all this discussion we lose sight of the human element in all these things. and i mentioned we have a lot of dedicated people working on this. i have one person who told me, i came to thank her for helping get that power down from the north and she looked straight at me and she said you don't need to thank me. i came to this company to make a difference and that projects makes a difference speak up would you provide -- rather have u.s. security? >> that's a weird thinking through now. >> it is a very complex situation. sometimes the insurgent motivation is not just necessary there to kill people or blow things up.
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so you'll have to analyze each on a case-by-case basis. as i mentioned in my statement about the need for social inclusion, the engagement of the local community and the whole effort, it has been a deterioration in afghan society and a lot of the criminal taliban, are not respecting the elders and things, that's seen a drop in security as well. effective engagement with the team unity is the key. it's not always good to have a guy with a shiny is a gun standing there. >> uscg might not support that? >> exactly. >> when i'm done with my questions we're going to give you each time to just make some closing comments and then we will adjourn. security is a huge issue. it's one of the reasons why evidently you want a cost-plus when you're outside rather than inside. a major factor.
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is a lack of the letter afghans an issue that presents a unique challenge? it said that 15% are the direct. there are estimates of smaller into its fifth grade level, really not that high. so does little see play into part of the challenge of doing your work? mr. mckelvy? >> its early challenge when you get into craft labor on construction projects, when you have workers that cannot speak or communicate -- >> so the answer is yes? >> yes. >> mr. mouzannar? >> yes. >> it is an issue and it can be overcome. >> by what, teaching and to reach? >> trade people at tarakhil, we use english and graphics. >> but it presents a challenge of? >> it is a challenge but it can be overcome. >> i was a education is of the key areas, otherwise it's too easy to face with $60 a month
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and they carry an ak-47 for the taliban. >> isn't one of the challenges of getting subs that you end up hiring an outfit that has some later see to it, and there are very few of them. and the challenge that we saw in afghanistan was that you had 85% of the population that thinks that 15% get some real special advantages because they have passionate they are literate. is that an issue as well? in other words, that you in a just focusing on the few rather than the vast majority of afghans. who would like to answer that question? >> if i can mention, i think the biggest thing here, and it's in my written statement, is obviously the afghan first policy is an important one. and i think companies like ourselves in essence what we're doing out there is to try to
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bring the level of expertise and technology into the country. what comes in the way is there are a lot of almost one size fits all type of an approach procurement when you have very tight schedule, very competitive environment. there are no specific projects that are designed solely for the purpose of training the afghan workforce. give us some projects where maybe the schedule is a bit more relaxed. >> part of the cost incorporates helping to educate. >> exactly. that's the workforce that later on they will come forward. >> mr. dyke on i'm understanding that's what you're trying to do in your area. the advantage of fixed-price is we know what it's going to cost. the advantage of a variable price is that you don't know what it's going to cost so we basically have to go with it. but the dissident with a fixed cost is if you don't know your
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cost, is it likely you're just going to have to bid higher just to leave a margin because you can't be as resized so you'll bid in favor of making sure you can cover yourself if the costs go higher? the question is, if you have to bid on a fixed price for something that you're not certain about, isn't likely that it is going to cost the government more money? i will start with you, transpo transport. >> if it is uncertain which would drive you as you say to jack the lump sum or the fixed-price up to cover their inconsistencies, then in the competitive bid process you're probably not get the project anyway. for us when the circumstances -- >> is that a yes? is your answer yes, it will be higher cost? >> if it is uncertain, yes. >> and i'm assuming all of you would agree with that. i'm wrestling with how you have a variable price contract with fixed subs. what is the incentive for the
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sub to come in low enough for you to take a low fixed price, mr. van dyke? >> we are focused on can the sub perform the work. >> that's not what i asked. >> i'm sorry. >> let me ask someone else. mr. mccarroll? >> yes. >> if you are a variable price and you are getting fixed-price, what is the incentive and how can the government be certain that you will get, pick a low fixed price? why wouldn't you just accept pretty much whatever you can't? >> the incentive for us is the next project. that's as basic as it comes. when the government selects on the next type of a project, especially on the best value, this is what it takes into consideration what we have -- >> you're saying though it's not that project but the next one. and that seems reasonable, but what is the markup that you get come each of you, you get from a sub? in other words, what do you charge when he said comes in
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with a fixed-price, what do you add to it, mr. mckelvy? >> i can't give you a specific number. anywhere from five to 10%, 12%, 15%. it depends on the scope of the work. >> do you get as high as 20? >> no. >> this range seems to be in line with the industry. >> 15%? closer to 15 than five? >> not really but again this is on a case-by-case basis speak of this is not a difficult question. hold on. i'm going to give myself more time if i need, because i need a good answer here. when you come in, what do you add to the sub when you give it to the government? is at five, 10, 15%? we're going to go back to the government. you're all under oath. this is not again. i know you know that. i want a better answer speaker we typically conduct a very total risk management causes. we price the different
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uncertainties on each, the technical security, et cetera. five to 15% would be the range. >> five to 10% which includes costs. >> mr. mccarron? >> 7% plus direct costs on project valued. but that 7% can go up and down according to the risk profile as well. >> mr. mccarron, i view you as usaid and the human. in other words, to me, and this is not a criticism, maybe -- i'm passing judgment that what you do. but basically you're giving money from the u.s. that they're using u because they do not have the resources to do it themselves, so they're turning to you. sing you because they'll have the resources to do it themselves and so they're turning to you, is that an accurate way to think
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of you? >> that would be one scenario. we have at various times had even larger projects than the current relationship with usaid, and kabul for instance. what we focus on implementation. as i said before in a statement, we implement, provide the professional services to assure the project's biggest you provide professional services that usaid does not have. mr. mccarron, i realize you don't want to criticize usaid. me on this panel recognize that we basically for usaid -- tore usaid apart so they have become pretty much a contracting organization without the expertise. so i just want to know from the testimony, you have people within your staff that can do a lot of the critique and oversight of projects, is that
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your common cause? >> yes. we are architects, engineers, a whole suite of professionals needed to implement. >> any class question? gentlemen, again, for the umpteenth time, -- i'm sorry. okay. again, for the umpteenth time we thank you are coming back so graciously, and we do appreciate it. and now we do want to leave you the opportunity to make any final statement if you would like to say. >> i would like to thank the commission for this opportunity for us to speak this morning and to interact on the important projects in afghanistan. we would like to thank you for the privilege, the u.s. government, for the privilege of supporting the u.s. department of defense. these are the most important projects for. >> translator: . we've been evolving over 60 projects since 2004 and look to continue to do this. i believe that would be continuing challenges in the
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continued environment between cost, quad and schedule with respect to firm fixed price contract inclination with the afghan first initiative. and so perhaps through consistent quality standards and design standards and construction standards from inception through operations and maintenance, we will seek improvement that we will see. >> thank you. >> thank you very much for the opportunity to appear in front of the commission. this is an in porton exercise for us because the only way we can share lessons learned is through these types of conversations, and we're hopeful with your work a lot of these obstacles that we face on a day-to-day basis, will go away. one last thing i would like to mention is the fact that it's very easy to look at bat projects, and then you see them on a daily basis almost in the media, and other venues. i just wanted to point out that work doesn't happen by accident,
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and there are literally thousands of very good engineers and construction specials and support staff that work almost around the clock to make projects like that happen in a very challenging environment. so i like to urge you to also look at the success stories and be able to bring these out into the open. and thank you very much. >> thank you. >> chairman shays and commissioners, we greatly appreciate the chance to sit here before this commission and set some of the facts straight on our projects. a couple of things in my mind, wind, doubling, more than doubling the power brought into afghanistan either through local generation or from outside in four years is a tremendous accomplishment. i think it's important to think of it in human terms. one of our female engineers asked a mother in afghanistan while she was there was important to you about electricity. and her answer was it enables me to keep scorpions away from my baby at night. one of our workers on the four
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to five to work with a smile on his face when they. someone asked him why he was looking so happy and he said because we had powers last night for four hours. we could pump water, bathe and wash our clothes. doubling the power into the country means a lot of keeping scorpions away in clean clothes and clean bodies. and i think it's important that we remember that. as i told you, the biggest single challenge we face is security. our company is very committed to going forward with the projects we have, subject to keeping our people say. we thank you very much for the opportunity to appear. >> thank you. >> chairman shays, members of the commission on also like to thank you for the opportunity to appear today and i would also like to show you that if at anytime you require any further information, i would be very pleased to assist. thank you. >> thank you all very much. we are going close this hearing.
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>> the bipartisan commission is expected to file its final report on issues in iraq and afghanistan to congress in july. >> to save medicare, to save social security, to make those systems work better, to keep our promise to americans, we have to change. >> ohio republican and head of the republican study committee jim jordan, on sitting issues, the tea party, and the proposed budget. sunday on c-span's "newsmakers." sunday on prime minister's question, david cameron response to concerns about the recent rise in unemployment in the u.k., and he talks about the increased costs of health care. investment in rural broadband and to begin efforts on stopping human trafficking. that is at 9:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> this monday, visit the public and private spaces of america's
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most recognizable home, the white house. c-span's original documentary provides a rarely see look at the history of the presidential residence in takes you through the major in, west wing, all of this, the lincoln bedroom, and focuses on the presidents and first families who most influenced how it looks today. newly updated with interviews with president obama and the first lady in comments from georgia and laura bush. the white house, inside america's most famous home. this monday at 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> the u.s. institute of peace released a report of political strategy in the war in afghanistan. now, a discussion about those findings with the former interior minister of afghanistan as well as a former member of the united nations assistance mission in that country. this is about two hours.
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going. for te topic at hand on making pe >> possible to be talking on the substance of those issues. thank you all very much for coming and thanks to our panelists for coming. i personally see this issue of the critical strategy in afghanistan as one of the most critical issues facing, certainly the u.s., but also afghanistan. a critical issue to which i thk we have a lot of gaining recognition of iportance, but we are still lacking a lot of answers and clarity about how to go forward. i was last in afghanistan in november, and evertime i go i come back even more confused about the situation.
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in particular confused about what is our overarching critical strategy in afghanistan that we are spending roughly $100 billion per year today, at present in afghanistan on military and development in particular. still, a lot of questions about to what end in terms of our political objective there. i am hoping that today's discussion and touch on those issues. at think this is a particularly important issue, especially now as we are heading into this transition time of transitioning to afghanistan security lead by the end of 2014. i think that it highlights the need for political process, i thin because if we current with 140,000 or so international troops in afghanistan are really stggling in terms of defeating the insurgency it is hard to see how ey're guides the able to
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be defeated militarily as we start testing this troop levels out. the urgent need to focus on that. i think we are seeing more attention to this end afghanistan and out, the appointment by president karzai of the eyepiece counsel with the symbolic gesture of the importance of this issue. however, their is a lot of question about the substance of the high peace council progress of rumors and discussions of contacts, especially last fall with taliban and fake taliban. talks and talks about talks to not strategy make. i'm hoping some of those issues will come out in today's discussion. given the importae of this topic it is my honor to introduce the esteemed group of panelists today who bring a lot of expertise on these issues. we are going to each panelist have approximately 15 minutes to speak and start with unama team
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who is the author of is excellent new report that has just been put out that i hope you all get a chance to read on "making peace in afghanistan: the missing political strategy," which is the pic of today's conversation. at book tv was formerly the head of analysis and planning. she is currently working out of oxford for the european stability initiative on projects and intervention and state building. prior to working in afghanistan after one had extensive experience working on peacemaking including as a senior adviser to the nobel peace laureate, the former finnish president supporting his work in northern ireland and throughout the balkans. minna järvanpaä has worked extensively in the balkans including two years with the u.s. mission in kosovo and holds a degree from the london school of ecomics from harvard university. a second speaker is minister at
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17. we are privileged to have them. currently it distinguished professor at theational defense university and formerly served as the interior minister and afghanistan from 2002-2005. prior to that he has lots of experience in counterinsurgency. quite active as a military planner for the afghan resistance following the soviet invasion of afghanistan and prior to that served as a colonel in the afghan army. graduated from high command and staff colleges in afghanistan, the united kingdom, and the u.s. and is the author of numerous books and articles on the political, military, and security situation in afghanistan to be our third panelist is dr. nixon, currently coordinating a product -- process. basically he is doing resarch on the whole issue of how do we
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-- issues around the durable peace in afghanistan and in particular trying to map out the interest that various afghan parties. the connection will speak briefly about some of the preliminary findings from his research. spend five years in kabul prior to this working most recently for the wod bank's national governance program. prior to that the honor of being a colleague of hamish when i was the director of the afghanistan research and evaluatiounits in afghanistan. hamish has extensive experience with issues of conflict governments and transitional elections. he holds a ph.d. in peace process seas and post conflict political developments from oxford. last but not least i am honored to welcome dr. christian barnard who is the director of the piece research altitude of oslo. his research interest includ
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the dynamics of civil war, migration and transnational communities and methodology and difficult context. extensive experience working in afghanistan and on afghanistan and is the author of the social networks and migration and wartime afghanistan and has a ph.d. in sociology. an excellent group of panelists. i'm looking for to what you have to say on this very important topic. over to you. >> thanks for coming today. just as a preface i would say i started a afghanistan in 2005 and had felt that there was a lot of hope. a lot of things that seemed could go right. working down in helmand at the time. since then i have had to
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personally revise a lot of my views on what we, the international community, can do in afghanistan. i would just like to start by saying, i find it harder and harder to see how the current strategy could be made to wrk. we have a military surge. but the insurgency has been spreadin from the south and east toprovinces. ey used not to be the ground for insurgency. this continued centurion pakistan, a tenfold increase of taliban fighters since 2005. what my staff estimated was about to a 3,000 fighters. the recent estimates have been up to 35,000. some analysts was suggesting a much higher number than 35,000. also a vast amount of money has been spent, and the pressure to
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spend that money quickly has resulted in a war that in itself, i think, is stealing some of the rivalry and conflict on the ground. the massive conflict is becoming much more messy, not just about taliban government, but all kinds of localized conflict that are unclear in the bigger picture. the whole industry that has grown up around our foreign aid, extortion, corruption that plagues the construction, private security contracts, and many reports that have been written about these things. is networks powerful local strongmen. karzai in kandahar who are dominating the economy, the new war economy. and this massive spending comes
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at the same time as international has named afghanistan the most corrupt country in the world after omalia. so what we are seeing at the most physical level is the merging of politics and economy and things like the troubled bank scandal which has become the most visible symbol of this kind of corruption. out of this management, the influence that has been given to politically connected individuals there is a risk that 579 million at least is in jeopardy. the entire financial sector including now the withdrawal, a potential withdrawal of the imf deal. politically we are hobbled by a president who is being increasingly the legitimate by the pop -- population to register for into the 2009-2010 election.
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this last parliamentary election is not yet over. he is also prone to lashing out at the international community for what we are trying to do. fundamental disagreements on aspects of the strategy and a lack of trust that goes both ways. there is a transition time line that was set in libon, and that is the transition for 014, which is obviously by any standard too short a time for a modern democratic state to emerge. and even if there was a very enlightened and reformed line of afghan, it would not be possible in that time line to create a strong central state which provides securitand justice for all the people. so what is the answer? i would say in 2005i would have argued it is strategic patience. we just have to stay longer, stay the course. think about our decades-long commitme and afghanistan which
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may still be correct. i think the question now is to do what? said ia i would not advocate during the same as what we are doing now for the next 30 or 40 years. if we are doing the wrong thing, then we jut had in that same wrong direction for a very long time. but i would argue that it is a political strategy. this suggestion that there needs to be talks to end this war had started to become more respectable in recent months. the press reports of preliminary talks with the taliban, the high peace council which has been appointed by karzai. these are not a political strategy, i'd like to emphasize, but they do show that debate may be shifting. last year when i covered around washington and around this time of year pushing the idea of the
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peace process, most people seem very skptical. they were feeling that there was a winning strategy that obama had launched. smart people were working on it. substantial resources finally. the military have the troops needed and one so-called expert who had been advising and creating and crafting this letter counterinsurgency effort told me that after those everything would be different. there was a humorous tic sense that the military victory was stil possible. and, yes, i think the town has fuamentally shifted since then. there is a recogtion that some type of political process is needed, althoh policy has yet to catch up. i think that is clear in a number of key areas, and i would like to touch a little bit on the current military strategy. now, a key metric that isaf is using to point to success is a
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number of mid-level commanders to have been killed. a lot of particles coming out about the tempo of night raids, special forces operations, and they clearly have intensified since summer. in the first half of 2010 there were 100 insurgent figures capture or killed. in the second half of the year there were three times that many. so targeting those mid-level commanders is certainly fragmenting the insurgency, as isaf argues, but i've just put a question mark on what else it might be doing. i think there is some evidence that it is also generating a new generation of commanders who are younger, more radicalized, and more locally autonomous. so there are no nger responsive to the traditional authorities in their area.
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one example is the network where the generational transfer of power is hppening. the sun is much less respectful of local, travel, and traditional authorities. this may make it a lot harder for he taliban to enforce an eventual peace deal. now, i can't go into a lot of data for that, but there is a book coming up by felix and aex in april or may, to analysts who have been tracking the issue of the insurgency developing. they have lots of data to support conclusions. in fact there is fragmentation and potentially quite a dangerous new local autonomy developing. now, general patraeus predictably disagreed with this view of the military campaign
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and speaks of impressive progress. he also highlights cases where taliban fighters have been coming over to the government side as part of the reintegration program. there were said to be 900 x combatants who have enrolled so far in the reintegration program. the vast majority come from provinces in the central, western, and god and parts of afghanistan,way from the heavy fighting. this is something that is developing and it is hard to say where it is going, but i would say that the hard core is not yet being tantalized by this offer. in fact, this may not be a productive debate to engage in. the mlitary have asserted that negotiations should be on the convective from a position of strength. if they now also planned to be making impressive progress at think we should be asking the question of them, does that not mean that it's time to start negotiating?
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the reality is, of course, that the fighting and talking will go on for a long time and parallel. i think everyone always recalls northern irelanin making this case with the first chance for peace were established in 1972, fopeace talks. very careful, low level, an official hannels. the good fighter agreement was signed 25 years later in 1997. so that uld be my first proposition, that talks need to start now and preparations for talks ne to start in center. and there are channels, but from what i can see they don't talk. so what should a political strategy look like? i think we should be careful about talking about solutions. i'm not sure that there are solutions, as such, that we're
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going to get to. talks in themselves can have value in building the trust, confidence, creating stability. and i think there are several layers on which those talks need to be happening and several different groups, circles the people, who need to be involved and then to make them create that potential stailizing effect. a peace agreement that results in a state that afghans are willing to live in and regional neighbors are willing to endorse, i think, is alternately where we need to be heading. so the agenda needs to be somehow tailored to that, understanding the grievances of afghans, trying to understand what the taliban wish list might be, and then, of course, understanding the core principles that can't be negotiated away, things like what makes afghan state acceptable to neighbors, sovereignty, that t lives up to international obligations, that it will allow with their power to use it as a base to attack
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its neighbors. now, so far there has been very little of -- we talk about the different circles, consultations of the afghans thmselves, the oader population. a lot of afghans are very nervous about talks, and rightly so. they are being kept in the family. karzai has been reaching out. involved in various initiatives. there is a high peace council, which is many think, and the taliban seem to think is a fixed process. seems to be mainly designed to keep the north of lance warlords on board. the taliban have explicitly renounced this aptitude and talk about the reintegration process as another way for the government to cash in on the foreigners. there is also opposition from
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northerners, women's rights groups, human rights activist, and a faction of the army which we need to be very careful of in this context, a lot of generals who probably if there is a deal that creates fractiousness, would walk away with their troops. and so that is why i think it is absolutely crucial to open up the political space to broader consultation. there should be debate within afghan socie about what kind of conditions are acceptabl. now, some of thepopular grievances that are generating support for the day before, two main issues, the presence of foreign troops and secondly the lack of justice and the corruptionf government. some indication, also, that the taliban think, although we don't really know, tre are people who have written about it, matt
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waldman, michael and others, last week in london at an event heldthere. he is not -- he does not represent the taliban. he is the former taiban ambassador to pakistan. maybe some of these things would give an indication, and i would just like to run through some of the taliban which list. now, the taliban would probably want to be a recognized as a political movement. secondly, ere is an interest in the release of prisoners at guantanamo and others. thirdly they're looking for a cease-fire by all sides. fourthly, they're looking for the withdrawal of foreign troops. fifthly, there is an interest and a more islamic state. and on the other hand what we could imagine asking them would be be more explicit about pronouncing al qaeda, which they do it privately disassociate
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themselves from the de hottest agenda. secondly a commitment to reforming rather than controlling the afghan state. thirdly, a commitment about sovereignty of afghanistan rather than some kind of merger with pakistan. fourthly, a commitment to different ethnic groups and political parties. and so some of the things that the taliban are about, which is not totally clear. i could imagine a formula for the way ahead. and so the in the state that i could imagine would be the withdrawal of all foreign forces, and that means al qaeda, any activists operating. getting there would be through some kind o series of confidence-building measures, cease-fires, localized cease-fires, changes in the
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rules of engagement that are agreed to by the warring parties. that would require some kind of office for the taliban somewhere so that they can actually be a party to talking about what the next stages are. no preconditions for talking. so far we have talked about redlines. redlines aren't particularly helpful if we are talking about talks. the redlines are probably thngs that in the and become the outcomes of the conversation. so, al qaeda is not a precondition for the taliban, but it should be a precondition of a final peace agreement. similarly the constitutional issues that might be thee, it may not be something that we want to insist on, but there needs to be an agreed constitution at the end of the process. and so, just to come to my final points about who should be at the table, i'd think we need to
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make sure that everyone who is currently engaged in the conflict is at the tble. the afghns can negotiate a peace agreement without the united states. there are issues that they simply can't represent in relation to the taliban or anyone else. there needs to be a preparation of the various parties. no internal clarity that i can see in the u.s., although i'm sure there are a lot of conservation is happening. the afghan government has t much interest in continuation of the confct, and the knees to be a preparation on their side of what is it, what is their negotiating platform. afghan civil society needtobe a real representation in this process, rather than a token representation. the taliban, and it is unclear how much discuion there is, is there a position alrea forming or is it just a few different forces coming out? pakistan, which is -- well, the
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internal destabilization continues, economic crisis, how much real effort going into defining a platform is unclear. and then who mediates? i think there is a confusion on going where we talk about the afghan as efficient of the proces the afghan government is a party to the conflict, and i have never seen a conflict where the successful negotiated resolution or one party of the conflict is the one that sets up the peace process. i do think there is going to have to be a third party mediation. and here is where the international community ought to take etched a much stronger and clearer row. it could be the u. n, it probably could not be unama which is on the ground and has a mandate to support the government. the u.n. might be the right body. there might be some other body.
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and so starting to set up the process, i think, is crucial. also an understanding that a peaceful settlent is not so much about working through technicality, but creating a narrative that allows all the different parties, u.s., taliban, and others, to save face and come out of this with no one defeated and no one winning, but with something that is lasting and durable as peace for afghanistan. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much and good morning. i'm taking this opportunity to
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thank usip for organizing this discussion on a very important issue. i agree that the situation in afghanistan looks confusing. this last year i made several visits to afghanistan. i spent two or thre weeks. every time i came back with a different picture of the country because things are changing. on the one hand you see improvements, progress. on the one hand the situation is deteriorating. so the battles sheet is very complex. now this next year is a key to the future of afghanistan, whether the progress and achievements are going to reduce
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the negative impact of setbacks or setbacks will actually reduc the impact of whatever progress you see today in afghanistan. as i was reading the report, "making peace in afghanistan," i was struck by the emphasis of the author on the need for political strategy that goes beyond talkg to the taliban, but must define the kind of state that the afghans are willing to live in andneighbors can endorse. i fully agree withthat and have written and spoken in support of this idea over the last year. in fact, i agree with most of the arguments presented in the study and its recommendations. however, i have some reservations about how to proceed toward creating a social, political, and security
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environment th is conducive to the success of the political strategy that she is supporting. we should also recognize that regional actors can be both obstacles and solutions to the problem, including politics. our structured might briefly. the role of military strategy in shaping that kind of environment , the second proctors of the comprehensive political strategy and finally the role of regional actors. although there is no military solution to the conflict, one can, a political strategy is not an alternative approach, but they complimenting effort. there is an ongoing debate whether negotiating with taliban should be adopted as a political
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strategy of round which military strategy is defined. preferred by some european countries. the military effort should be the strategy of choice to produce gains on the battlefield and force the taliban to the negotiating table supported. in the first case, the pace of troop withdrawal will be determined by the progress in talks with the taliban. in the latter case the pace of progress in talks ll be determined by the progress on the battlefield. these two strategies are not mutually exclusive. there is a close link between them as long as the withdrawal is the centerpiece of strategic approach. the taliban and their supporters are not going to have any
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instance to negotiate if they see that they can gain more by continuing the fighting. meanwhile, without taking advantage of military gains to when conditions for talks the peace will continue to be elusive. historically negotiated insurgencies have all taken an extended amount of time. they were conducted parallel with combat. so in either strategy talks and fighting are likely to go on simultaneously for some time until an environment conducive to a settlement is created. next, the march 21st, afghanistan tries to begin taking over security
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responsibilities for important population cnters and the shared nato afghan plan. most likely it will start in the northeast. the plan envisions that afghanistan securityforces will assume full responsibility for security across the country by 2014. now, there are three major questions. first, what are the chances of success? this is the tenth year of u.s.-led military involvement in afghanistan in a security situation that has continued to deteriorate. second, what is the basis of expectation that the country will stabilize by 2014 to the point that will allow irresponsible withdrawal of foreign troops from the country? third, what is the vision and what are the ways and means to achieve it? but when we, war in afghanistan,
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we started or and have continued for ten years. during the past nine years were more than nine years, but resources stabilization effort to check the security environment that peak this year at the highest level since the removal of taliban from power in 2001. actually, taliban were defeated. bush so, what we call a victory in 2001 was not a victory. the ever increasing complexity of the strategic and operational environment is perplexed the afghan government and contributing nations. the government of any unified vision for the nation and its people. all parties have approached the emerging issues in divergent and coordinated ways with operations
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on every front being fragmented to events rather than strategic undertakings designed to support long-term goals. aware of th vietnamar famously once said that america had not been fighting the war in vietnam for 12 years, but for one year. the same can be said in afghanistan today. the international forces have fought nine years. if you multiply it by the number of actors and afghanistan then it is 400 in the past nine years, uncoordinated. now, 2009. look. the first time in the post taliban time that sufficient resources are available and that there is a sound strategy adopted by nato forces to not
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only still the insurgency or reverse the momentum, but also to build capacity in afghanistan before stabilization operations. counterinsurgency. what i think there ought to be, that strategy started to employment. there were calls for a change of strategy. the surge that took place, 35 or more troops, actually, they were deployed only at the end of summer of last year. it has not been even a year since the strategy actually started implementation perrysburg chnging the strategy into something else. if you look at the transition adopted by london and continued
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through the process it is based on two major things. on the one hand try something to reduce the level of threat and on the one hand do something to create the capacity to respond. that should be dne at the same time. so building capacity, a conservation but the effort of insurgents, at the same time trying to get support of the regional actors. thes data parameters of a military strategy. it is it time to think about a different strategy? well, maybe. but at the same time the actions of comprehensive political strategy golan with this military strategy.
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there are, however, confusions inside afghanistan and the region about the parameters of political strategy. the scope of political strategy by an overemphasis on talking to the insurgents as the key to peace. negotiation with the insurgents. the end is a peace settlement that is supported by all parties. a settlement which is sustainable and does not so the seedof conflict. it should address grievances that fuel corruption, and justice, political exclusion. such a settlement is not just about a deal with liban or even the supporters within pakistan. the settlement should clearly
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define and in date. the afghans are willing to support and the original actors and others who are involved too comfortable with. behind there is a potential with the country's leaders and could be very divisive. during the past years there were talks going on that only a few people knew about. we are talking about the debates. okay. the karzai government and his family was reaching ot to some taliban eople. your talks at different levels in afghanistan are going on for the past nine years at different levels. local levels for different purposes. afghan talk with each other. so therefore it is not talked
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with individuals or local sues. talks for the in the state is not happening in afghanistan, not at the afghan level, not with the political parties, not with even the international community, the reports about un officials talking with taliban or you in officials and other countries. these are ot talks. i think if you are looking for talks that will end and peaceful the solution i will come back. the public trust with the kabul government is deepening suspicions among the afghan forces and require a multilevel negotiation be part of any strategy. there are many people that the karzai government is not looking
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at. what does legitimacy in afghanistan? it does not come from the ballot box. the election. legitimacy is derived. if the karzai government becomes effective nobody wl talk. otherwise an eirment like afghanistan, yu cannot hold elections. at think in 2003 to people were against elections in 2004. elections, first to have to build the institutions, the rule of law. election because the playground. the affair. we are talking about the corruption. without the rule of law the free-market economy becomes a
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playground for mafia. so when i was covering central asia in the 1990's and 2000's after the breakup of theoviet union, when we talk about corruption we have to realize that most of this corruption was caused by the way the international community deals with afghanist. so in 1980's when seven factions are fighting the soviet occupation and it was supported by countries with no accountability at all, the same way. in 2001 but by the most corrupt people who were the reason that the taliban came and listeas partners. so if you have to changehat environment. corruption after lotus risk
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activity in a high-risk environment. you need to reverse it. so this is how you have to create that environment. in afghanistan it will eventually be conflict resolution process. the diverse or diffuse fighting for different reasons. i share the concern of some colleagues. okay. the taliban commanders is : to create a new generation. afghanistan society, the old generation and theoung generation. it is all mixed. they fight for different reasons. the taliban ommanders, they will come. maybe they are more radical are
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not. it was to atomized to disintegrate. it was ethically to intertwined to compartmentalize. so it does not have the kind of potential to disintegrate. now, let me talk briefly since i am running out of time about the rule of regional actors. the regional powers can be both obstacle and solution to the country's problem. progrs requires stability in afghanistan as an extension of other nations. what are the main things that can be the policies of neighbors. there are two things.
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the so-called legitimate security concerns, opportunistic and the strtegy. the two other things, the opportunistic and hedging strategies can be addressed if you achieve a certain level of stability unless there is a certain level of stability in afghanistan neighboring countries will continue to try to influence the situation in afghanistan. the strategies will be the strategy of choice. and then security concerns.
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these are things that should be. what is the lowest common denominator? we have discussed it. talks within afghanistan and pakistan on a bileral basis. there are several meetings about this. one is the university. that is a kind of the nsolation, reintegration and construction. this brings together the strategistudies centers of afghanistan, pakistan, iran, china, russia, central asian countries, turkey, the u.s., and
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others. there have been several meetings in the past one year. then there is the meeting about the process within afghanistan, but all these discussions cannot achieve the n better understanding. it was also complemented by two other things, bilateral and official diplomacy. at the same time a kind of a change of perception that afghanistan eventually will be able to stabilize itself. i will stop here and i will be happy to take questions. >> thank you very much. [applause]
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>> good morning. thank you for coming, and i want to thank minna järvanpaä for her hard workand writing the paper, but also recognize all the work that went behind the paper to advance the concept that a discussion with a wide range of stakeholders of many different options is needed to move as and afghanistan toward a peaceful and durable political settlement. thank you, professor at ali jalali, for your insights both written and spoken over the years that have motivated me and to usip for holding this event. the way the three partners i am working with on this project are trying to take forward this agenda about a political process has focused on a limited area which is the drivers of conflict within afghanistan understaing better the interests involved with in the country and
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exploring the parameters of potential durable solutions to those issues. it is always important to stress that there are a host of international, regional, and transborder issues that are very important, in some ways may be determinant. but the internal elements increase the vulnerability of afghan state and society to these factors. these need be addressed if any settlement is calling to be durable and therefore provide a longer-term solution for the national security interest of the united states, other involved countries, and one that does not simply the ground for future crises. in order to learn a bit mre about these issues we have been carrying out interviews with a wide range of afghan stakeholders. one of the things we have learned is it is not necessarily the most forceful approach to divide afghanistans actors into predetermined interest groups.
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the influence of the old wood had been leaders is waning and changing to new figures, new economic actors that are emerging and combining with the political elite, tribal leaders are becoming security actors. civil societynd women's rights activists can also be combined with ethnic politics and patronage as well. there are broad ontours to the discussion about the possilities of a negotiated peace within afghanistan that i want to describe in a very preliminary way. just to give you a sense, we have been working with a pool of 110 interviews which conclude around 35 or 40 mps who are incoming or outgoing, sometmes we don't know which. the ten members of the executive, mostly ministers, but also other officials involved in the national-security apparatus and government of afghanistan, ten members of the high peace council, half a dozen or so
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former or current governors of provinces in afghanistan, several, about sex, former taliban leaders. another five or six former commanders. a small number of current taliban commanders including active commanders in the insurgency. representatives of civil society and human rights organizations. these categories, as i say, overlap. at least 15 afghan academics, policy analysts and media figures, and also business figures. there are a few areas where we need to go further and get further representation of melody institutions. so that is aense of what we are doing. we have been doing that a lot ourselves with a group of very capable yang analysts. one is here today, and he may be able to shed light on some of that as well.
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of want to just touch on five things that come from this discussion as well as the of the conclusions from the frequent research trips i have been making to afghanistan. the first is that the drivers of the conflict are widely perceiveto be changing and becoming more and more centered on domestic issues. again, this is not to say that people don't speak about pakistan. they speak a great deal about pakistan, but also increasingly about iran. this has elements of current events that are driving the discourse. many afghan leaders are increasingly asking why we are so vulnerable to these factors. there are really to drivers of the conflict domestically within afghanistan. both of these have very localized manifestations. again, one is the presence and the behavior of foreign forces and the role of the u.s. within
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that. the other is the weakness and abuse or corruption of the government and various forms. i will build on that point by expanding on what we arhearing about both of those. first, and terms of the military effort and the u.s role and the presence of foreign forces itis pretty much unanimous. out of 5 interviews that i have looked at, only one suggests that the u.s. should not be directly involved in the negoated solution to the conflict. one out of 65. it is a very, very broad theme that as a man player to this conflict, one which is paying the huge costs and of blood and treasure of supporting the afghan government and fighting the war the u.s. obviously has interests that want to preserve or pursue in afghanistan. there is also a recognition among a lot of afghan leaders and stakeholders tht those interests are not necessarily
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centered on bringing peace to afghanistan or upholding the rights of afghans or bringing democracy to afghanistan but a centered on other issues. those goals and what they really are remain very opaque to almost everyone at all levels of afghan society that we and spoken to. this feeds th well-known speculations and conspiracies that all of us to work on afghanistan are aware of. these create realities on the ground, not just rumors, but the fabric of politics. there is a huge communication gap regardless of what the strategy is. many speak of the need for the u.s. to communicate more directly to the people of afghanistan themselves as well as potentially to the taliban. beyond polls there is the actions. the actions of the u.s. and the strategy which has been
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discussed by both speakers and creating a gap between the reality on the ground and the rhetoric of the government about its pursuit of peace through reconciliation and the use of the high peace council or whatever other aspects they're trying to put in place. there are a range of views, predictably, about that. there are many who support the escalaon of the military strategy right along the spectrum to those who call for an immediate the escalation and with the -- withdrawal. the point here is the ambiguity over both the long term strategic partnership between the u.s. and afghanistan and the terms of the shorter-term drawdown is creating a situation where not knowi the framework the u.s. applies to this conflict these people very uncertain as to the likely course of events. this is feeing a range of
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conflict reducing behavior's deepening the political discourse, more looting forms of corruption, reliance on local defense imperatives and all kinds of other actions that the parties domestically are taking to thecnflict. so that is on the foreign forces u.s. side. in terms of government weakness there are a hugerange of issues that come up here. there is an interesting fous that for me was quite different from the way i had thought about corruption and government weakness previously. there is a general sense that the concentration of power in the afghan system currently is related to the problem of nepotism and unfair appointments. people focus on that much more than necessarily the theft of money for different kinds of problems in getting predictable institutions and speak a lot about the representation of various groups in state structure.
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this is not a new issue, but i think it is deepening and linking up with a more emphasized interpretation of the conflict by a lot of groups. obviously that is of deep concern and potentially is an issue where some expressed concern that the taliban come to be seen as representing passed in interests which would be a ngerous turn. there is an interesting side note here and which many people also talk about the deepening underrepresentation, and people talk about this from all sides. i can tell you, it is not that one group feels this all leaders in all groups who use an ethnic discourse talk about this problem. they talk about it also in terms of their current leaders not been able to represent those interests. they talk about it with this concern jut mentned of not
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making the taliban the representatives. so it is more about the groups and about the rights of those groups being peserved than it is about returning to the old leaders who claim torepresent the scripts but, in fact, have much reded legitimacy among them, it would seem. there is also a kind of interesting range of how people talk about whether the problem is the institutions of the state or the individuals. this is interesting because it relates to the issue of the constitution as a sensitive issue that has to be negiated. .. the people who do talk about
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preserving the constitution are clearly using this as a signifier for the protection and guarantee of certain rights. the constitution is the only flawed guarantor of that right now. it may be that it is less about the final shape of the constitution than it is about making sure and mechanism can be found to preserve the core issues within the constitution that the different groups are concerned about. those go beyond civil society and human rights groups, i wish dad quickly. -- i would add to quickly. to use as an example, the constitution is not the karan -- quran. it is already a live debate within the political system in afghanistan iman political opposition groups and the government -- in afghanistan
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between political opposition groups and the government. the high peace council and their role, there's a pretty wide perception that the high peace council will have a lot of trouble playing a constructive role. the members of the high peace council themselves most frequently viewed themselves as playing a role of mediators and somehow bridging the gap between the insurgentoppositn and the government. nobody was not on the high peace council really shares the view that they can effectively play that role. at the same time, a wide range of stakeholders don't really see that they can viably play the role of a negotiator on behalf of the government, an agent of the government, because of the perception that the real discussion about the terms and guarantees peace process would have to bring forward isn't really house in the high peace council. what the council and maybe interaction with it might do would be to do more to promote a
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conversation between the various interest groups that are currently within the political system in afghanistan, and it seems they are not doing tha very much yet but this is a potential avenue or role that they could play. probably alongside other actors. so what does this maybe point to in terms of the shape of a political process? building on those better than already made the first from our point of view of the research that comes to very clear is the u.s. has to get seriously stuck into this, come to the forefront, and to be very clear about its positions and oals. as a participant in the conflict as well as a concerned party or supporter. and that instead of pursuing perhaps an independent or d-link policy of fighting and then transitioning and withdrawing from we perhaps need to seek a
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framework with a drawdown of foreign troops can be interlinked with the steps both by the taliban to the escalating violence, to remove the influence of foreign enforcers on the insurgent side as has been going to come and to facilitate taliban legitimate representation within the system. but a key issue here seems to be the definition of fure security arrangements. the current policy i think in professojalali's framework i would argue is led by part of the strategy or in primy, is that any pea negotiation will likely involve a discussion about how the national security forces are structured. and one early point of evidence for that is that those eight or 900 activity around reintegration at the moment, one of the key concerns of all of the commanders are stepping
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forward, even in the limited areas where they are is very much to retain their arms and retain security responsibilities in their areas. so there seems to be a tendency were a framework for securing, for security of all of the parties has to be part of a peace agreement here and next week on friday, there is an interesting group your usip with the ministers of interior and defense of afghanistan will both participate and i'm sure talk about aspects of transition. this framework about withdrawal and de-escalation also needs to be linked to a reform agenda. of the institutions of state and of the individuals of state, and this lkage may be needs to be motivated by emphasis also on defining the terms of that longer-term sttegic partnership between the international community, the u.s. and afghanistan.
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i think we learned that preempting spoilers will require knowing more about the economics of the actors in the conflict which are causing chang in interest to emerge. so i would just conclude by saying that maybe in addition to minna's arguments about the need to open a process and with the shape that might look like, the u.s. is involved in has to be underpinned by a clear and strong commitment to that process. to my mind this means we need to articulate within unisys a couple of things. one is a durable political summit among active actors within afghanistan is possible. and secondly that such an uncommon is essential to sustain
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the meeting the president's core aim to prevent the recurrence of al qaeda and other groups to the region. if those two realizations can be made it becomes more obvious that using diplomatic means to seek a diplomatic process that is durable within ghanistan will be the most effective way to do much, much more with much less both in terms of blood and treasure than a policy that only emphasizes the escalation llowed by hand over to a very shaky regime at this overtime will much better secure the long-term national security interest of the united states as well as the interests of the parties within afghanistan. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, and thank you to all the three speakers for very, very rich presentations, which
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both teachers ite a few lessons but also holds quite a few new questions. my policy is to offer some reflection before we start, and hopefully to those reflections will further stimulate the debate. i was reminded this morning about the engagement in afghanistan. the guest house where we were living tended to discuss issues, but we also had -- before written? in discussion with other guests at the guesthouse. and, of course, that also is telling not only because engagement but because that engagement is also one key resource in reducing the ideas. softly we will find pure reflections and resolve this even more tangible ideas from you and the audience.
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not that i will deprive you the opportunity to ask questions, it is your privilege and you're right. let me limit myself to three brief reflections. the first one is on what is potentially a strategic gap between the military and the public part of the strategy? as andrew reminded us, what we have at the moment is really all we talk about his talks. it's easy to mistake this talk about talks. they are e not really anything that it must do concrete things work as far as, at least as far as we know. there are a number things have been point out the past few years which could possibly inside the scene. that is also all. i haven't spent -- i've been
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visiting regularly but only for short visits. one of the things i was struck with was here perhaps at least a little bit, i think you're absolutely right, minna. over the past two years there's more and more interest, more and more support for the idea that the political process will be necessary. my sense from his last visit was really bad there has been a setback in terms of support for a political solution. perhaps not so much with international community, but more so within, particularly the afghan political elite i would say. i actually wonder if the conference -- the lisbon conference and the relaxation of 2011 deadline, the 2014 deadline really contributes to that more lukewarm attitude to need for clinical process.
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-- for political process. we've heard a lot in these presentations about military strategy and the possible political impact of the military stragy. i think many of us, many o the people we talked to in our research are really skeptical about the abity of the military surge to produ a conducive, starting point for a conducive political process. and here again, this is perhaps a different aspect of the gap. at the moment we have a military certainty which is very much driven by the international community and the international community i think increasingly means u.s. where as the very responsibility for the politics is supposed to be going with the afghan government. and there is a cat. that is potentially quite
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problematic. another aspect that strikes me as problematic when i discuss this many, amongst the afghan political elite, political association seems very much perceived as a zero-sum game. and without criticizing you for what you did, trying to come because i think the way you laid out your positions is accurate and also flexible your but once we lay out the position, there is also the risk we can't -- not only those positions but the perception that it is a zero-sum game where the party said that at the table, show their cards. because as you rightly said, a political process is like if something goes wrong, in that long drawn process of course positions, perspectives are
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transformed and compromises are being worked out. and what initially made look like a need for a compromise may actually have, may end up being a comparability between potions that looks very, very different. so i guess what this brings me to is really a rather general and overarching but nonetheless terribly important question, which is really what are the possibilities in the current climate given the skepticism within much of the afghan ,-comgovernment by and large part of the international community to develop a politically, they truly politically driven strategy for afghanistan. the second issue i want to pick up on is the issue or consultation with the afghan people. and you may forgive you for being a bit selective but i'm trying to push some of the issues which i think have not received the necessary attention in the debate.
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there is certainly a widespread concern amongst many afghans in afghanistan in the diaspora are what the political process result in terms of hitting up ver the past 10 years, giving up on rights. there is certainly very little dialogue between anybody who has an influence on the very strategy and those who express those, larger ciilian population. as we heard hamish say, in may other consultation, people are not necessarily so concerned about constitution itself. this may be a bit of a surprise since from the international community we say the constitution is not up for negotiation. that's not necessary such a concern. we also talk about red lines again. most afghans seem t to think that entering negotiations with
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a finite set of red lines is very constructive. but there are deeper concerns about rights, about justice, about what sort of afghan state, what sort, with what sort of protective mechanisms for its citizens,or what welfare for its citizens that would come out of negotiations. so there is definitely a need here for some type of society consultations. hamish use the term inclusive, inclusive peace process. what the peace process should really look like is something i don't think we have a sufficient attention to. there is no doubt that given the experience we have from peace process that the durability of peace hinges on such rather consultations. existing mechanisms doesn't really seem to contribute to this. of course, back in the beginning
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of the decade was the electoral mechanisms, the representative mechanisms could really be the mechanisms through which the sort of consultations should come about. but that doesn't seem to effectively be the case. the peace council is a new invention that is possibly also fostered such a dialogue. at the peace council itself doesn' necessarily see this as a central part of their mandate. so i think a key question here really is what could be the shape of a peace process which is inclusive, transparent or perhaps even what exactly is the type of consultative mechanism that should run throughout the possible peace process that could really make the voice of the innocent or the non-armed or the civilian population heard. and then finally, and again i
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allow myself to ask a rather overarching qustion, what should be the contours of the negotiation process? we've heard here, and i think with a good substantial to his argument, that there is no way one can think about the peace press in which there is not a commitment by the united states. it is a critical party. what exactly the form of that commitment should be is a different question. we also heard, and again i think very convincingly argued, the engagements from afghanistan's neighbors is critical. and we also heard, again i think, the current escalating needs of the afghan presidency and the afghan government is a liabilit and i certainly got very concerned about that because it seems to me that at least we are
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now at a stage where there could be reasons to ask whether, not only the government, the tensions within the government are of such a scope is not fully good to lead a political process, but, in fact, whether burdening this rather, this rather tender alliance that we call the afghan government within the peace process could be held the very nature that tips the balance. and one thing that was emphasized by several other speakers which i also think is terribly important, the whole question of readiness of the taliban. at one point, it struck me as i listen to you, what is the impact of the current driven military strategy in terms of helping the taliban are encouraging the taliban to
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develop that readiness? we don't know much about what sort of reflections go on within taliban leadership's, leadership about a political process. but it wouldn't be surprising if the fact that there is inherently a rather intense military surge that is takn away from the energy that could otherwise be put into discussing what a political situation could look like. so somehow is there a way in which one can actually create a more conducive space for bringing about a political reflection within the movement itself, because that is certainly a rather important element of readiness for talks. basic question acceptinsome sort of representation for insurgents, numerous countries have been suggested as the host of a new taliban office.
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nobody has been wholeheartedly enthusiastic so far. i think butagainthat may also have to do with the fact that there is no clear signal from the international communit that this is something that is really wanted. and, finally, and i think minna said this vry clearly, who is it that can b critical third party in this situation. there are certainly at the moment many tracks, teaching tracks perhaps, not that there are any tracks but there are many tracks and nine of them are terribly strong. none of them have the support that it takes to become strong. but most importantly, i think we need to ask at this very moment what are the contours are constructive political process in afghanistan, and what would be the first elements? because i'm not sure at the moment we're really making progress in terms of converting
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the past 10 years of the international strategy into what is first and foremos a political strategy. thank you. [applause] >> i'd like to thank the four nelists are very interesting and rich presentation. now, over to all ofyou for questions and comments. although preferably brief questions and comments, but we have two microphones on either side if you want to co up and ask your questions from there. we will probably take two or three at a time and then get the pin was an opportunity to respond. please. spee if you could also introduce yoself first. >> i work at the department of state. minna spoke of the war economy
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in afghanistan and professor jalali i think suggested that the war economy is also a large part of the explanation for the increase in corruption. if a political strategy succeeded, what is the economic future, postwar, post-withdrawal of foreign troops? we hear that afhanistan also is the world's largest producer of opium. nobody has mentioned that in the course of this discussion, but it is an important element of the economy. so where does -- what's the future of the economic future of afghanistan and the afghan people? >> scott? >> i work on rule of law issues. my question relates to parliament, and i realized and
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asking it we still don't know what department will look like. and it could take a shape that this question becomes irrelevant, but if we assume that this crisis over the parliament gets resolved and you have established body, i wonder what role, if any, do you see them playing in talks as you mentioned the need for more inclusive process and accommodating different groups? because as flawed as the election was is still a body that has leaders from around the country representing different parties and the only formal institution in high peace council i would say which gathers those leaders in a peaceful setting. and so, both in terms of i guess hamish, your interviews with a lot of parliamentarians, they see themselves, their institution playing a leading role, and even if not, for others is that a potential mechanism for introducing this inclusiveness or not? >> one last question.
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>> a couple of strategies proposed, which were interesting, one was a semi-peacekeeping role essentially between the afghan government and the taliban as two warring parties. a fact that came out was there should be de-escalation with insurgent and leading up to a cease-fire. [inaudible] >> secondly, in both the strategies we are not really talking about disarmament perhaps, in which case can we really imagine a sustainable peace after a cease-fire or after some kind of peace accord? thank you. >> okay, whoever wants to take
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on some of those questions. >> on the issue of the economy, i think one thing that is not always there is that there has been economic growth for the last 10 years. it's unclear exactly how we measure it, but there does seem to be at times double digit growth. and i think a great deal of potential with peace for capitalizing on that and on the sort of, it's very energetic face of afghans. if it's coupled with regional infrastructure nitiatives and with trade aeements acss the region and so on. people of course speak a lot about the mineral wealth, which i think has a potential of course to become a foundation
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for afghanistan, but it will take an awful lot of time and investment. and it will take security. to be able to really harvest. i think, scott, you're absolutely right that the parliament passed to be somehow involved. it is a body that could potentially provide some kind of inclusiveness and a sense of different regions being represented. i don't quite know what form that might take, but i do think that as soon as the parliament is accepted as not being -- as excepted as legitimacy, there needs to be thinking about how to work that into. on the questions about de-escalation, disarmament, yes, it's very hard to see
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afghanistan really going through a full disarmament process. this is a country that has a great history of weapons being held in homes. i think it's not so uch about the arms. it's about the question of how the various groups are integrated into this, the political process and have their integrated also into security forces, and those questions. there's a lot of details that would need to be worked out. >> yes, about the economy, economics in afghanistan future depends on the stability of the nation. talking about opium. there's not a long history of opium production. it started as part of the war economy in the 1980s during the soviet occupation. and then would be breakdown of state control or, and also the
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droughts and others and some of the war, it actually became their regional problem. i think mainstream, this counter narcotics straty, in all aspects of development, that security, governance and economy, there's no simple solution for that. today, i think the most, you know, the part of the opium is produced in the south which is unstable. in the north and west, it is easier to control but in the south is very difficult on the other hand, as long as the insurgency continues in the south come it will be very difficult to control production of opium. with regard to the peace console, peace council is
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something which is created by the government. people who are on the peace council, those were hit by the government and, therefore, it is actually the voice of the government. but parliament is not. all these peace jirga and other things are not going to a. i think parliament is the real state institutions that can play a role because they represent the people acro the country. i think this problem, i'm not talking about the secular parliament because for the past one year they were not able to elect their speaker. but generally speaking, parliament i think yes, it is a very good institution to be
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involved in the peace process. with a peacekeeping role, i think first we have to the peace in order to keep. there is the peace in afghanistan. and when you have peace, peacekeeping. in 2006, when many internation international, nato countries came to afghanistan, there was no peace to keep. and, therefore, i think first we have to some kind of peace. you have to keep the peace first and then probably that will work. >> a couple more questions. marvin. >> marvin winbaum, middle east institute. you made reference to the fact that we really don't know much about what's going on in the thinking of the taliban.
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should we be talking about, however, about whether in fact we can treat them as interlocutors here in the sense that we would have some common sense that they in fact understand compromise and what that means? it was suggested, and i don't think there's much to indicate that it has changed, and i say that even with -- they never represented -- they never represented the coor hart shura. what we found was that they we were, they had a true believer notion hear about the rightesness of what they were doing. and the sense here of there being part of a compromise of power-sharing, taking cabinet
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positions. it seems to great many of us, i think, is antithetical their thinking. so in our effort here to find the way ot, have we perps projected onto the taliban the way we would like for them to respond if they were, you know come even like other afghans? cause you can make it argument that their ideas, the traditions they acquired in pakistan gave him a different mindset than most afghans, for whom the idea of compromise is very easily relied on. thank you. >>rian marshall. i've been serving in a series of areas of the state department.
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one thought and relates to a previous question, actually i'm struck by the fact that always the reference to the taliban is not doing individualcome just to the taliban. and i wonder about do we have a good idea as to who has the authority to speak for the taliban interests in at least political discussions? for example, there was an awkward situation a few mnths back in which someone claimed to be speaking for taliban interests, and was found to be a fraud. >> colin cookman. doctor nixon sort of tucked on this -- touched on this. i was wondering if you would discuss the role of the miltia programs which delays
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incarnation of which i think the afghan local police, the role to which these actors tie-in to the karzai government network and the degree to which they, assuming this negotiations were conducted with the karzai government in the lead, the degree to which it would lead to smaller local groups would be a part of that process, or would be pursuing their own sort of local economic or otherwise, other interests. >> take two more questions and go back to the panelists. >> good morning. i work as an afghan analyst. i have been involved with the peace process in nepal and sudan and iraq. i have a number of questions. first of all it was a wonderful work carried out by you. i appreciate that. a number of things that come to, and i would like to share with you, one of the major demand of
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taliban or other insurgent is basically withdrawal of foreign troops from aghanian. in many cases they demand that. and you have coded that even the afghan army and police can not ensure peace in afghanistan. and you have chief of afghanistan speaking out day before yesterday saying afghan army is lacking the moral leadership. now, if the capacity of afghans on military police is a condition we have to provide -- why it's not elaborate more on that side than how we can bring the more leadership because we have people who are leaving their duties because of the lack of transparency and so forth, in the country, the nationalism. and again, you talked about the
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political sentiment in afghanistan. no peace -- [inaudible] afghanistan, in fact when the peace process came to afghanistan it was very much urban-based, you know, development, services. and the taliban during their time when i have been through the country during that time, it was very much seenn two different fronts. in the rural afghanistan was a much seen as security, the fact for stability. rural afghans, whe it comes to the urban population there same then as an occupier who have given the basic right of freedom. when the problem started forecasting very much on the urban population, therefore they don't see any change.
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with all the dvelopment, all the millions of dollars spent in afghanistan, th don't see that change and that contributes to the volume, that from 3000 taliban it has moved to 5000 taliban. [inaudible] >> that's an important. one of the things which is probably could have been incorporated is that the taliban rule,. [inaudible] now, i wonder if north country still not heavily supported the taliban. now, the pressure on these countries if you take the example of pakistan is limited to drone rocketin pakistan. but there is no oter pressure in term of policies, strategy. and as you know these are very strategic allies in the war against terror. so why strategic effort is not taken by all the nato ountries
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and united states to pressure is pakistan? you talk about the haqqani network. they are all in pakistan. so why not put pressure on that? that is veryimportant element that i see abo that. i would fully argue with professor jalali that there are -- [inaudible] not really doing so good in afghanistan. during the 30 years of work, not a single movement emerge in against a. despite the fact of all the war but nobody wanted to north afghanistan or south afghans do. they fought among themselves but they maintained the afghan national id. so this is really not a big thing on the table a an alternative afghan i can assure you of that. and again, let's be hopeful about it. there are lots of hope for things happening in afghanistan. we have fundament. actually take it has signed democracy we're talking for two months to select the chairperson
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of the parliament, but they are not developing. i would say it is good which they are talking. you have the professor as a leader, and you have got a female activist coming from the west. they are talking in the public and talk. so i see a sign improvement and progress your thank you. >> my name is debbie smith. i run a norofit organization for building a scool in kids with disabilities afghanistan. my question is, you addressed talks that should happen between thtaliban and i believe it was isaf nato forces. and you listed some conditions that each party could bring to the table. however, nowhere did you discuss the role of the future of women and girls. and i just wonder how we can
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build a durable peace in afghanistan without addressing the rights of women and girls in the future of afghanistan? >> let's start at that end of the table now, kristian and hamish. >> i don't know my question. >> in the interest oftime i won't touch on all of those many interesting questions. i think maybe what i would touch on was the question about parliament very briefly in which many parliament members are also members of high peace council, and those particular respondents do have a view of the role which is much more focused on reaching out to different kinds of disgruntled groups in their own regions of the countryet cetera. so there may be grounds for the. a lot of the respondents outside either the high peace council or
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the paliament felt that i think more because of sort of ineffectiveness or division of the parliament rather than an argument against it is intrinsic or theoretical role in this regard mentioned frequently mechanisms like those, like the emergency constitutional jerk is as kind of way to get views from across the country represented. certainly your characterization that most felt because it's an appointed body, the high peace council is limited in its ability to play that role. i think another thing that was interesting is that my own work in the past is on local governance. we have quite a formalized debate among western specialists out whether decentralization is part of the solution in afghanistan. a lot of the way of this issue is interpreted through afghan
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stakeholders i would say is about diffusion of power centers generally. there's too much power concentrated in the presidency, anything you can do to defuse that outwards on an institutional basis is a good thing. not necessary downward, but to other parts of the government. slightly different issue than your core question, scott. they don't take up the question about peacekeeping. i mean, i thi we have to be realistic. the likelihood of a robust international interest in the scale of disarmament and peace keeping effort that would be needed to do a traditional postonflict peacekeeping effort in afghanistan i would say has zero chance of manifesting itself, even after a political solution tohis conflict. and so, the nature of the political solution in how it deals with armed men in armed groups is going to have to take into account the structure of the national security forces or thnational security framework,
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shall we say. and i think the current direction that the national security force framework is beg played out raises some questions about how adjustments could be made to make it led by a political process, if one was to emerge. and those two directions are obviously a great deal of interest and effort. and i was in some way more effective effort than in the past, and increasing the size and as well the quality of the national security forces. there are a wide range of opinions on whether any of that is sustainable about attrition rates and other things, which others can speak more effectively than i can. but the second direction is also the afghan local police which was mentioned by colin and generally the localization of the duty which has been a kind of recurring theme, serving in the entire time i have worked in afghanistan. and hose two trends are nt
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necessarily the same, compatible or in the same direction. if you mobilize an armed local group and if you try to increase the size of the national army and have a more formalframework of security forces, and i think it's clear funny which is coming through among the commanders which currently expressed interest outide basically the core kind of areas that the taliban has a stronger structure, but nevertheless their strong interest in retaining their ability to basically manage their own security speaks to the need for a framework where mutually reinforcing our mutually checking security arrangements between the armed groups would have to form part of the political process. and just very briefly on marvin's very interesting question. in terms of the leadership level, this discussion that we don't know enough about what the talibans leadership position is, i think it's an important one
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but i wonder whether we ever knowthat much aout an insurgent organizations true political position, or viable outcomes and to enter into a process. that doesn't necessarily mean committing to it in state or in negotiations, but by putting forward a clear position on the part of one side, you may elicit a response which tells you more about what the position of the others is. secondly, i would just finally say that while we may not know much about the position of the leadership, i would argue that we ask you know quite a lot about what motivates and mobilizes a large large portion the fighters were fighting in the insurgency. and they are the two things with all pointed to. their poor government performance and a sense of injustice. and th are the presence of foreign forces. so by putting for scenarios in which we don't agree to withdraw
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foreign troops as a precondition but we say no, we don't agree to that. herere the conditionconditions under which that might happen. we think that process and possibly elicit a response. possibly not. the future is uncertain. but in addition, that process could be even better linked to certain amounts of certain element of a reform agenda that is underpinned by a long-term strategic partnership. that in turn might elicit a response. again, it might not. and so there's a political means to undercut a huge amount of the non-core ideological taliban as well as what's currently what is being pursued which is a military and the offer of surrender. >> aut this, who speaks for thtaliban, i think it depends on the situation. different groups speak -- i do think taliban has a position yet
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other than their rhetoric's and some statements that were made by individuals. in fact, we should not ignore the role of pakistan here. pakistan is shaping and trying to control any kind of negotiation with the taliban. therefore, there are groups in pakistan who are getting their cues from pakistan. the only group that so far has offered a position was -- actually they sent their delegation to kabul. but, unfortunately, neither the government or the taliban, they do not have a clear position that is clergy find. so, therefore, since there's no clear position it would be difficult to start that process. afghanistan and the
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international community lost missed oportunities in the past. one was in 2001 where the majority of talibans, 90%, wanted to join the political process. but they were excluded from that because all taliban were considered to be part of al qaeda. in the next time that they offered, came up in 2003-2004 en he had a meeting in -- they contacted me. at that time the position was clear, very simple. very acceptable. they wanted protection. at the same time they had to be allowed to continue their political and peaceful means. but they wanted this to mean
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guaranteed by all stakeholders, at that time not only afghan government, all ministries, ministry of interior, ministry of defen, ministry of intelligence, coalition forces, isaf, and all countries. and they wanted us if we can create a mechanism that altogether can guarantee this protection and a lack of political activity, they will actually join the process. but, unfortunately, neither the afghan govnment came up with an agreement, noted international communitwas so enthusiastic to support this id. so then after 2003, after that today the position is not as easy as in 2003-2004. today, you have the pakistan
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influence. at the same tme the international community. it is very difficult now to realize what is the real position. yes, maybe that position can be clarified when you start talking. however, talk for talks is not happening. the rule of the militia, you know, in the past we have had experience with malicious. and although you call it afghanistan national please are afghan local please come you can give it any name but it depends on the situation on the ground. they help the afghan government in order to help, local security, and even fighting outside the invasion. however, that worked only when
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they believed in the viability of the government. [inaudible] >> that works with each other when that system is there. that system is no longer intact. so at the local level, if they believe that they can be supported, they can believe in the viability of the afghan government, they will cooperate. however, the afghan government is no not in a position to suppt them, then they find their own ways to reach out to other groups internally or externally. i think -- it might work. at least they can create a situation where all local strongman will not create their own militias. something that is happening today. because in the north unde the namef local police, the
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warlords, strong local warlords are arming their own people under the name of the local police. which is a very dangerous thing happening. i think some of the insurgencies in the north was not ideological. most of them was because they were mistreated by some people in the north. today, when you see that people are coming tohe site of the government or not, these are the same people ho, for one reason or another, joined the taliban. not the taliban that actually were known to be -- or haqqani group. thank you. >> if i might just collect some of those questions uer the frameworof what i sing at the very end of my presentation, which is about repairing the parties for talks because i think alot of the falls into that idea. and i think there's a lot of
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work to be done by the international community. to try to help these parties and try to help them make coherent. and if we start from the taliban and marvin's questions, i think there are elements in what the guesswork by various peoples, there is panels is saying might be the taliban's position. that might be quite compatible in fact with western physicians. we don't know what the taliban -- its guesswork. it's based on a series of interviews by different analysts of mid-level and senior of taliban commanders but it's based on others who speak about these things. it's based on the talibans own pronouncements and what they put out on the website. but i say that one way we would start getting closer to what the taliban would be to support this idea of some kind of office for
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them, to give them a space or they can articulate their position. but on those issues where we might find actually a surprising amount of compromise are things like the question on al qaeda. there's a very clear readiness to start drawing some distinctions. i mean, one of the things that the taliban, at least people will say about them is that al qaeda is a religious issue, which is always created some differences. there's also, the history of how al qaeda and the taliban came to intera is not so clear-cut. al qaeda was actually -- other groups originally. and then jalalabad mixed up with the taliban, and i think is always quite a lot of mutual suspicion.
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omar became -- osama bin laden. among the other movements does not ever a close connection. and so those arethe things that i think any work done and can be a basis for change in their position. the constitution, i'm not sure that the taliban are really looking for government ministries. and maybe looking for influence in the south, and so again there might be some space there. there's clearly a mual interest in westerners leaving afghanistan. that can probably be exploited in talks. so while i agree, and kistian, hereby. it's not that helpful to articulate positions because those will not be the final positions. talks will change all the positions. but it might just be a way to start analytically thinking about how does one see a way forward and what issues need to
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be discussed and where the positions might start off at. and part of making, creating that coherent with the taliban is giving them, finding a way of giving them a platform. on the government side, i think there's quite a few things that have been mentioned, kristian also mentioned earlier, as to the afghan government leadership and support for the poker process, a question, and i would agree with the. i think there are many interests among the senior members of the government that point to perpetuation of conflicts, not the least of which is the money that comes through and the ability to partake inthose infl. butalso things like the militias. i think we should be, rather than encouraging for the initiatives for


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