tv Washington Journal Madiha Afzal CSPAN August 19, 2021 11:22am-12:01pm EDT
i do remember jason taking my hand, stroking it and telling me i was going to be ok. i was a little conflicted that i was reassuring me. it was showing me how upset i was. >> this week you will hear from massachusetts democrat jim mcgovern. january 6, views from the house, sunday at 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span.org, or listen on the c-span radio app. >> c-span is your own feud to the -- unfiltered view of government. sponsored by these television companies and more including charter communications. >> broadband, a force for empowerment. that is why charter is investing billions in infrastructure, upgrading technology, empowering opportunities in communities big and small. charter is connecting us.
>> charter communications support c-span as a public service. along with these other television providers giving you a front row seat. continues. host: a discussion now on the future of afghanistan and the region with madiha afzal, a foreign fellow with the brookings institution, and an author. madiha afzal, i want to start with what viewers should know about the taliban and its leadership today, and what you will be looking for as we try to determine what the future of afghanistan will look like in the coming days and weeks. guest: good morning. thank you for having me. the taliban, after their takeover of kabul, they have come onto the world stage. they held a press conference a day after and this was streamed
live on the bbc, watched by the world. they said things the world wanted to hear. i think we should be very, very wary of the taliban's history and its actions on the ground. do not take what they say at face value. that would be my first recommendation. they said they will grant amnesty. on the ground, there are already reports of reprisals. they said they would protect women's rights under islamic law. that is vague and purposely vague. at the very least, it means they are very, very harsh, very draconian interpretation of islamic law. on the ground in the areas they have taken over, the countryside, provincial capitals over the last week, it is very
different from what they are doing in kabul. those are the things we should be looking for. we should pay much more attention on their actions rather than what they say. host: who is the leaders of the taliban today? how different of an organization is it from 20 years ago, the taliban that ruled afghanistan? guest: the major difference is the taliban's political leadership has become much more able to talk to the world. it was granted international legitimacy by signing a deal with united states last year in february. even in the run up to that, it has started to be granted legitimacy because it was negotiating with the u.s. it has moved around the world, going to various capitals, meeting with foreign ministers, it met with the chinese foreign
minister, one of the leaders of the taliban met with the chinese foreign minister. it has garnered this international diplomatic legitimacy, even as it was fighting with -- at that point -- a government. the major difference i see is their diplomatic and outward posture, in terms of rhetoric. on the ground, this could be partly because there is a disconnect between the political leadership and the fighters on the ground, on the ground, there fighters look very much the same. the implementation of what they are doing looks very much the same as it did in the 1996-2001 timeframe. in that timeframe, they were essentially isolated from the
world. there were just a few governments that recognized them. in 2021, what do have made clear is they want international legitimacy, they want to have a relationship with other countries. what they are basically assuring the other countries of, including the u.s. and china, is the afghan soil will not be used to attack other countries. that counterterrorism assurance is what they are offering in return for those governments recognizing them. whether that holds or not is a question. they are being extremely vague on what they mean when it comes to human rights, women's rights, etc., within afghanistan, and we should watch that. host: madiha afzal is our guest, from the brookings institution.
republicans, (202) 748-8001. democrats, (202) 748-8000. independents, (202) 748-8002. veterans of the war in afghanistan, (202) 748-8003. as folks are calling in and we try to understand what a taliban-road afghanistan means for the region, what are you going to be watching in pakistan? guest: in pakistan, the first thing to watch is whether pakistan recognizes the taliban government once it is formed. the government has not been formed yet and afghanistan. once it is formed, does pakistan recognize it? what kind of relationship does pakistan establish with that? in 1996-2001, pakistan was one of only three countries to recognize a taliban government. this time, it will be more
cautious. it will not take a unilateral decision on this, it will wait for consultations with other regional countries. my sense is it will wait for china, its ally, to see what moves it makes. it will not be the first to recognize a taliban government. but, i think it will eventually establish a relationship with it. that relationship could be something that the u.s. uses to get pakistan to pressure the taliban on things like human rights, women's rights. host: you talk about the history of the taliban. what about the history of pakistan's relationship with the taliban? what should we know? guest: pakistan in the 1996-2001 timeframe was one of the principal backers, especially
pakistan's intelligence agency. in 2001, when pakistan joined with the u.s. and supporting the u.s. war in afghanistan, taliban leaders slipped into pakistan and were able to gain sanctuary there. even now, their families live in pakistan. this is something the interior minister of pakistan has acknowledged. they slip back and forth to get medical treatment. pakistan, again, about the last two years in the trump administration, signed on to help with the afghan peace office and put pressure on the taliban to come to the negotiating table with the u.s. pakistan released one of the
leaders of the taliban, who was in custody in pakistan. it has had a relationship, certainly, with the taliban, but that relationship, i would argue, at this stage, is not seamless. it is a complicated one. the taliban does not trust the pakistan intelligence agency. the taliban has become powerful. it has relationships with other countries, including iran. it also has, because of this international legitimacy it has gained with its travel toguest:. this kind of military independence that he gained makes it less reliance upon back
standing -- upon pakistani support. host: this on twitter from jordan, an independent film maker showing an independence day protest in kabul. he said they marched past taliban soldiers with some of them screaming back at the protesters. some of the video filmed by that filmmaker. what does that seen -- scene tell you? guest: that is a striking
development and it shows you, tells you that afghanistan of 2021 is not the same as the afghanistan of 1990 six or even 2001. there are these -- afghanistan of 1996 or even 2001. that have come of age and have freedoms at the time they did not have the five years that the taliban ruled from 1996 to 2001. they will not accept a taliban government without protest. there is a notion that the afghan flag have been replaced by the taliban flag. even in that press conference that was held earlier this week was held at a government media facility and the only difference
there, everything else was the same as it was a few weeks ago when the government spoke to the media. the only difference there was the fact that the flag, the afghan flag have been changed with the taliban. people sitting there were taliban spokespeople. there was a protest yesterday. i think these are significant themes. it shows again how it has changed. host: out of watertown, tennessee, independent. good morning. caller: thanks for taking my call. of got three things. i like to make sure that this lady gets back to my first question. the number one question, just remember who's funding perkins institute.
qatar. my main point is this. the people that are most in charge of this debacle and a dent -- and afghanistan are supposedly the best and brightest people in the country. anthony blinken never held a job outside of government. jake sullivan, yale. this lady got three degrees from yale. joe biden never held a job outside the government. what we've got is an absolute debacle and everyone that is responsible for it, think tanks and these government officials were all ivy league. host: got your point. do you want to talk about what you do at the brookings institute first? guest: what was the question?
host: your role at the brookings institution and what you do there. >> i am a scholar of the region so my book which came out a few years ago looks at the roots of extremism in pakistan and how the state has fostered extremism in pakistan. my role is as a scholar, as a writer of the reacher -- of the region and observer of the region. host: his concerns about the people making decisions on afghanistan. your thoughts. guest: we will be talking about this for months, for the next few days, for months and years to come. there is plenty of blame to go
around. there is this extent to one could talk to the -- talk about the u.s. war. one could talk about the deal that the trump administration negotiated with the taliban which gave the taliban everything they wanted for very little in return. they did not live up to. then one can talk about president biden's decision to withdraw unconditionally from with -- from afghanistan. in a way that did not allow for the or did not push the taliban to come to the table and talk peace with the afghan government. my recommendation throughout, and you can go back and read all of what i have written on this, my recommendation for the u.s.
administration over the last two years has been to stay with a small number of troops until a peace deal was reached. stay to ensure the taliban cuts ties with al qaeda. the withdrawal if that kid of -- if that kind of peace deal had been reached, we might have ended up being in a better position rather than a complete takeover of the country and kabul by the taliban. there is plenty of blame to go around, not just the u.s. there is plenty of blame to go around and afghanistan as well. the corrupt government and leadership failed to inspire, to lead the afghan security forces who were dying in the tens of
thousands. the region had important roles it played as well that led to this outcome. there is quite enough blame to go around. host: jerry out of huntington beach, california. democrat. good morning. caller: your point about the afghan government not leading the country, it's only been about money over there. get away with whatever they can get away with. as far as the taliban is concerned, i don't know why anybody in their right mind even negotiates with them. what's the best outcome? it's a disaster. hypothetically, let's say you
had a group of people they wanted to take over afghanistan. 50% of them were referenced and 50% were child molesters, but i don't see the difference between the taliban and a group like that. they should have ousted the taliban years ago. host: got your point. guest: thanks for your question. this was not negotiating with the taliban. it was not something that anyone in the u.s. administration would have the desire to do 15 years ago, 20 years ago. the reality of the matter is this more could not be won on the battlefield. that's what led the u.s. to negotiate. what would a better negotiation have looked like?
the taliban should have engaged in a cease-fire. they should have, that should have been the prerequisite. they should've negotiated in good faith with the afghan government. both things did not happen. they kept on adopting strategies. we are here currently at an outcome that nobody desired and that was certainly not the outcome that anyone wanted with negotiations with the taliban. about a year and a half ago on the cusp of the deal being signed before we saw what the deal was, i wrote a piece saying what are the costs of negotiating with the very terrorists you want -- you want sought to defeat? what is the cost of that? we should reckon with the cost
of negotiating with a group like the taliban. i think the key is there really was no choice but to do this. host: to stephen out of windham, connecticut. independent, good morning. you are next. caller: i agree with everything you said. i think you are spot on. personally, i don't think the war after we got bin laden was worth fighting. i want to bring it up to this morning -- to this moment and time -- moment in time. the most difficult press conference of ever seen out of the pentagon in my life. it was just so, it broke my heart. it was really difficult to watch. host: which part in particular? caller: they were trying to
explain why we can't stay there to rescue everybody. there was no good way to say it's going to take years to get everybody out. it may take years or all of the americans to get out. i think personally we should have healthy august 31 deadline. the administration has to have some possibility. what i want to ask her is do you have friends or family because i'm seeing all these hot -- heartfelt stories. we want to get the good guys out. want to get the girls out. we want to get the women out. we want to get the interaction rules out. you have anybody you want to get out of there? guest: thank you for your question. i think the scenes from monday with so many afghans running on the runway of kabul airport with
airplanes taking off around them and the image of the afghans crowded in the u.s. air force plane, 640 of them. those images really resonate. there are some any of them who want to get out and who cannot. there are also afghans who want to stay. it just this morning, i was on a radio program that is out of canada. afghan had also joined the conversation and he said he is not going to leave. he said regardless of whether this is going to be for him a time where his freedoms will be curtailed, he wants to stay. there are afghans who will choose to stay, but for many who
work for the united states and who worked with afghan government they are very worried about their future and they are trying to get out. i know so many stories of people who want to leave and will not be able to. there has been a remarkable job by various media outlets reporting exactly what's going on around the airport that people cannot actually get to the airport even if they have papers to leave. that is one part of the story. the other part of the story is all of the people who are in their homes and around the country who wish they could leave but can't. there's a third part of the story where people have no choice but to stay. host: what was that professor's name at the american university? is he on twitter?
guest: i think he was on the bbc just last night. i can certainly share the twitter handle with you if you would like. host: sure. as you find that. about 15 minutes left with madiha afzal to ask the questions you want to ask. republicans, 202-748-8001. democrats, 202-748-8000. independence, 202-748-8002. war veterans, 202-748-8003. madiha afzal works at brookings institute. were you able to find the twitter hanno -- twitter handle? guest: anyone who wants to look him up can. host: rochester, minnesota.
democrat. good morning. caller: i was just wondering, the moneys that comes from our tax money and the people of this country. it does afghanistan, do they turn around and use that money to purchase their weapons from our country so the money takes you turn from our tax money back into the hands of the weapons? or does a bunch of that money go to relief of the afghan people to better their lives? i will get off and let you answer. thank you. guest: thank you for your question. the u.s. has supported the afghan security forces in every way. arms, money. it has supported the government.
it supported development projects in afghanistan. all across the board, the military, the government and on the ground. there has been a great deal of support. sadly, we saw the afghan communities -- forces collapsed this week. there are reasons for that that are endemic to afghanistan. one of the important things to remember is that they were so dependent that they relied on the u.s. intelligence support. once that was taken away from them. they really did not have the capability in many ways combined with the fact to cover the corruption at the top. they were actually severely
underpaid. they didn't even have meals at one point. when they saw taliban winning and were faced with it, they thought rather than die for a losing cause they basically surrendered. they may have been so underpaid, reports of them repeat this receiving stipends from the taliban as they walked away. it is quite a sad story. we know that there have been made over the last 20 years. -- there have been gains been made over the last 20 years. gains for women and girls who have worked, gone to school. there have been improvements and
that is important to remember. that is largely due to us. there is obviously corruption and there has been a siphoning off of money. one must remember the improvements. host: jonesboro, arkansas. keith, a republican. good morning. caller: my comment is quite brief. i'm a marine. i have friends who went and served their in iraq and afghanistan. they were perturbed. we will fight and die before we will give up and run. these people, they did not want their country or they would've stood there. i don't care if they are throwing rocks at the taliban. that would've run out there and committed suicide amongst them to save their country. but they didn't. i will tell you like this.
i don't want any of them in this country if they're not willing to defend their own country. i saw hundreds of not thousand fighting age man -- i saw hundreds if not thousands fighting age man running and it's sad they are unwilling to fight for their own country. we did not need to be there. that's the end of my comment. guest: i want to thank you for your comments. i want to thank you for your service. i empathize with your comment that there is a great deal of disappointment and what has happened. an abject surrender. many of us thought there would be a civil war, especially in afghanistan cities and the
provincial capitals. to see it all surrendered that way is really disappointing. one thing that hasn't been brought up that is worth thinking about and remembering is the fact that the afghan president fled when the taliban were on the gates of kabul. he fled and deserted his people. that led to the rapid takeover. that ultimately was a comradely -- cowardly act on his part. his people have and will suffer greatly for that act of cowardice either leader. host: greenville north carolina. it democrat. good morning. caller: good morning.
my question is what is america deemed an evil participant and why hasn't the taliban been coined as the number one people source in this scenario? we knew that afghan could not put up a solid front. no one else is there as much as america's presence is. however, america is being deemed a villain. we are risking our lives and no other country is, but we are the villains. guest: thank you for your question. i think nobody should be, nobody
i know is saying something that negative about america. america was there. so were nato forces. so were forces from across the eu. they are all thanked for their service. i think what people are dismayed about is the takeover by the taliban and that is not an outcome anyone wanted. people are worried about the future of afghanistan. extreme heartbreak over what this means for afghanistan. that's the first thing. i would say that the second thing is the worry about americans, american citizens, american diplomatic workers. also aid workers on the ground as well as the afghans who
helped the u.s. in this fight. afghan interpreters, eligible for special visas. their lives are in danger and they will not be able to effect that they will not be able to be evacuated in time before this takeover. now there is this massive evacuation effort underway. i think that's what the concerns have been about. the effectiveness of that evacuation effort that has to be undertaken in such a scramble in the first place that it basically had not been undertaken over the previous months. those are some of the real concerns. host: by the way, we are waiting to hear more on the evacuation efforts at 10:00 a.m. eastern. we will be taking you there alive -- live on c-span.
plenty of coverage today about the ongoing developments in afghanistan at noon. we are going to be covering the washington institute east policy, the discussion that follows. afghanistan and what it means in the middle east. at 230 p.m. eastern, a conversation former marine officer. it discussion on the relocations of afghan refugees. all of that as well on the free c-span radio app. for the next five minutes or so, your questions with madiha afzal . taking your calls, brian is next out of michigan. an independent, good morning. caller: i haven't spent a lot of time in the middle east, but that doesn't matter -- i've spent a lot of time in the middle east years ago, but that
doesn't matter. there's plenty of blame to go around. that's why i'm an independent because i see it on both sides. bush and his crew invaded the land, afghanistan, which is the first time in american history we've done anything like that. then you're going to play a game of nationbuilding in afghanistan , a landlocked country. our power comes from the sea. that's why all of these costs were ridiculous from the start. at the end of 20 years, we don't even know, america doesn't even know that you would at least need 10,000 if not 15,000 troops with air cap stations over it to protect the withdrawal from
afghanistan. host: getting in and the first place and how we got out. guest: as i've said before, i think in retrospect, one can litigate including the fact that when we went into afghanistan to target al qaeda in 2001, the tele-band was in power. we took down, we targeted the tele-band -- the taliban. it left a vacuum in terms of the government. we were pulled into nationbuilding which proved extremely difficult in a country like afghanistan. we have seen the cracks in the nationbuilding come to full
light in recent weeks. my review had been throughout and you can read what i've written on this. the way to have undertaken this withdrawal would have been to maintain the few troops there with just 2500 3000. there was a slow process because they were so far apart they -- that a power-sharing agreement would have enabled us to lead more responsibly certainly we
will be getting all americans out. there have been in particular again, but there could have been things that were done over the last two years including the administration. that might not have let us to the moment that we are at right now. last call for a veteran of the war in afghanistan. good morning. two minutes left. call, michael out of virginia. caller: i'm confused with why we did not have a better blueprint for pulling out of the area. we've done it once before and we did not have this massive cr