tv Discussion on a Taliban- Controlled Afghanistan CSPAN September 12, 2022 11:31am-1:14pm EDT
to get things in for the american people. they would probably say it's too much money we're spending too much money and that's why we need to change direction for the midterm election. host: i think you started about the same time. scott wong with the paper in california and then the arizona republic. politico, the help for a long time. now senior congressional reporter at nbc news. always a friend of this network and we appreciate that. about 10 minutes left if you have questions as we talk about the week ahead. catherine, new jersey, good morning. i think we lost catherine. gary massachusetts. good morning. caller: i have three things are but like to ask. i heard 9/11 was yesterday. the muslim extremists were badly
said it's too bad but it's a -- it's ok to saymaga >> you cannot watch the rest of this program on our website. we take you to a discussion would mark the one-year university -- anniversary of the u.s. leaving afghanistan and life since the taliban took control. >> welcome to this morning's event, which will be recorded. it is my great pleasure to introduce the dean of the elliott school, who has some comments. >> thank you. welcome and thanks for being able to join us for what will be a sober and thoughtful
reflection over the last year since the fall of kabul. it has not been a story with an outcome that anybody would hope for. i think we will hear from our speakers today, who have a perspective directly linked to what happened when you're ago and the end of the collapse of the former government afghanistan. they will give us some answers to how the government questions have come to the foray, how the taliban's ruling afghanistan, what happened for women and girls. this is one day after the anniversary of 9/11, so we all have much to reflect on. let me welcome you to this competition, and i-12 now turn
things back to the senior associate dean for academic affairs, professor of history, who will introduce each speaker and get the conversation going. thank you. >> thank you. i should have introduced myself to begin with. i am benjamin hopkins. i am a historian of modern afghanistan. this particular topic is near to my heart. we have an outstanding panel that does span the breath of experience -- and of experience. we will hear from afghans themselves today who have policy positions and have worked with afghan refugees in the u.s. as a historian, one
misunderstanding i try to correct is that our interest is not in events processes when we talked about the fall of kabul, we are not talking to much about an event that is still laying out good yesterday marked the 21st anniversary of 9/11, which month later led to the american invasion of afghanistan. months shy of 20 years later, the u.s. withdrew from the country in a chaotic form, leading to the return of the taliban. despite the subsequent violence of the american political class and screaming disinterest of the american electorate -- seeming disinterest of the american electorate, that withdrawal marks neither the end of the war on terror or the suffering of the people in afghanistan. thousands are waiting in camps
for possible settlement in the u.s. or other western countries which may never come. millions in afghanistan are taft by a repressive regime whose interest and ability to govern are limited at best. there is situation is compounded by an international community which has largely washed it hands of the issue. today's panel includes voices of afghans and those who have worked with them. it will provide insight into the ongoing process of the fall of kabul, as well as considering accumulating costs of the war, which most americans would like to forget. today, we are joined by krish o'mara vignarajah, who is not able to be here in person.
krish's president and ceo of the lutheran and immigrant refugee service. she was previously a policy director for michelle obama and worked under hillary clinton and john kerry. while in government, she worked on multiple issues including engagement with religious communities, the legal dimension of u.s. foreign policy and regional dimensions related to africa and the middle east. a graduate of yale, she was also a marshall scholar at oxford university, where she received a degree in international relations. second, we have sadiq amini, who is a program manager for outreach at the observer outreach foundation.
he previously worked at the u.s. embassy can cobble for most 9 -- in kabul for almost nine years and as an embassy liaison with the government of afghanistan he played a key role in coordinating evacuations after the taliban's takeover of kabul. the u.s. department of state him with the euros reward good previously served in various capacities and the afghan government, including working with the independent election commission in 2010. finally, muqaddesa yourish, a former deputy minister for commerce and industry of the previous government of afghanistan. sheep joins the university --
she joins the university community as a professor of international affairs. she has brought government experience, including service as a commissioner on afghanistan's national civil service reform commission and prior to that is human resources director of the municipality of kabul. she was also agreed director for a top strategic communications firm. her expertise and stands in international trade and commerce, economic development, human capital and strategic communication. both of these presenters are fulbright alumni. each speaker will present for 10-15 minutes, after which we will open it to questions for the floor. i will turn it over to our first
speaker, who turns us remotely, krish o'mara vignarajah. krish: good morning, everyone. it is such a pleasure to be able to remote in. i am kneeling with a kindergartner -- dealing with a kindergartner nursing a cold. my name is krish o'mara vignarajah. i serve as president and ceo of you and immigration refugee services. for those of you who are not familiar with our organization, we are a large national nonprofit dedicated to immigrants and refugees, headquartered in baltimore. they today, i work in the number of different settings. i loved school, so it is a was nice when i get a chance to come back to more academic settings.
i was able to dissipate in the connect with foreign affairs speaker series this past april. it is a wonderful opportunity to be able to participate in this reflection on the fall of kabul and evacuation of afghans. looking back, it was clear to us that the troop withdrawal would cause a humanitarian crisis. we urged the biden administration to put forth an plan that would meet our obligations to the afghans that we promised to protect. such a plan was the right thing to do. it was giving communities the opportunity to prepare for what was coming. we advocated for and evacuation
model similar to what we have done in past wartime evacuations, including after the fall of saigon. that would have transported at risk afghans to a safe location, where their cases could have been processed and they could apply for visas to enter the u.s. unfortunately, the biden administration chose a different route, which led to august 15, 2021. it was a terrifying day in the african world, separating people -- afghan world, separating people from their families and forcing them to flee with next to nothing. my colleagues will speak to that. like you, for many of us in the u.s., watching the taliban takeover in shark, the -- shock, the horrific images from the
kabul airport will be seared in our memories forever. i am not a military expert, so i will not dive into the details of what should or should not have been done, but what i know is that the biden administration knew that there were tens of thousands of afghans that would at risk of retaliation from the taliban for their support of the u.s. mission or because of their religion, profession, sexual orientation that they would be targeted. although the harried and chaotic evacuation brought many to safety, it left thousands of at risk afghans behind. well there is much more to do -- while there is so much more to do, the evacuation was a historic effort. a year later, there are still afghans supporting the u.s. mission who are in danger, not
to mention those and other vulnerable populations, including journalists, women's rights activists. many of them protected us. in turn, the valve to protect them -- vowed to protect them. we have a moral obligation to keep the, spirit due to the taliban's control, it has become virtually impossible to evacuate all of our allies, but the biden administration must do everything in its power to ensure that we save lives and give them permanent status in the u.s. we must also remember that men, women, children are at risk, not only because of the taliban but because of other countries. both the health care system and the economy are at risk. we stand ready to welcome every
afghan ally that can reach our short. over the past year, we have received enormous support from donors, veterans on both sides of the aisle. it has been inspiring to see americans stand up and open their hearts to a community that has given so much to us. i want to talk about what afghan resettlement has looked like here at home. the model evacuation, we were proud to lead it alongside our afghan neighbors. while the resettlement effort has largely faded from the daily headlines, our work continues every day. four resettlement professionals, this mission has been one of the most challenging and meeting of
our careers -- meaningful of our careers. we knew this would not be easy but it was made more difficult by four years of cuts to the refugee program under the prior administration, when more than one hundred local resettlement offices representing a third of the national network work cut down or cut altogether. after dismantle men and downsizing, resettlement agencies have rebuilt, even while a historic flow of refugees has been admitted to the u.s. the crisis in afghanistan has pushed the system to its limit. some resettlement offices who would welcome thousands of refugees in an entire year in 2020 received hundreds of afghans within a few months.
they suddenly served seven times the number of refugees we admitted in the entirety of the previous year. that is where we looked. i still marvel at the way that our team spring into action across the country and mobilized with lightning speed to assist more than 30,500 afghans. -- 13,500 afghans. we -- as americans, we know that affordable housing is an issue. we enrolled thousands of children in school and help families access community resources. we posted -- posted job fairs to help afghan workers take the
first steps. we organized legal clinics, cultural orientations, financial literacy classes, mental health workshops. we now have baby thousand afghan neighbors -- 80,000 afghan neighbors across the country. they are resilient, driven, eager to contribute. thanks to their arrival, the rebuilding of the resettlement infrastructure has been jumpstarted. we have now seen global sites open around the country. another remarkable effort has involved afghans helping fellow africans. --afghans. you only need to look to northern virginia. we have an office where 100% of our staff are afghans.
many recent arrivals themselves. obviously, the last year has -- they have weathered it with tenacity and strength. many have spoken publicly about the transformative power of welcoming afghans to the u.s. and sharing their own experiences. the northern virginia office was put up exclusively to serve afghans. it is an example of what is possible. with that said, we must continue to advocate for those who have been settled under temporary status. finding gainful employment, securing permits status in the u.s. are top priorities. afghan workers face language barriers, lack of public transportation, and in unfamiliarity with american hiring practices.
afghans in particular have trouble with skills matching. those who were engineers by training find themselves unable to work in their field because of certification requirements. at the same time, the employment aspect of this mission is a attentional win-win scenario. you just have to look at the latest headlines to know that employers are hungry for talent amidst the labor shortage. these workers are eager to contribute. ice is everywhere i go. if you want to support the settlement mission, one way is simple. hire an afghan. there are two major challenges. when is the unification of families that were separated --
one is the unification of families that were separated. it is unfair to ask those who were brought to safety to move on without their loved ones. we must keep our promise to make these families whole again. all of our clients have at least some family members who were left behind. that is the major source of stress and anxiety. they begin to lose hope and it would be hard to blame them. we see that little progress in reuniting them. tens of thousands of mas have been forced to the oceans apart -- of families have been forced to live oceans apart. the second is providing afghans with the stability they would have had if they had been brought to the u.s. through an orderly process. the set is that they have now is
temporary -- the status they have now is temporary and insufficient. we have been working with members of congress and urgently calling for the passage of the afghan adjustment act. this is the same legislative fix that advocates have been coming for since last year. what it would allow is for afghan evacuees do have the opportunity to apply for permanent residency after their first year. it would divert an unnecessary burden on the system, which is the heart approach, which many of us know is buckling under the weight of a massive case backlog. there is also visa processing, a process which is also backlogged and take you -- takes years to
complete. it is a humanitarian imperative with overwhelming bipartisan support. there is no excuse for congressional inaction when some meat lives and our national reputation hang in the house. with congress back in section, we are looking for legislation to get past before the midterms. if you want to get involved, i would encourage you to reach out. let me end by leaving you with this. congress passed an adjustment act in every other u.s. wartime evacuation. it is true whether we are talking about humans -- cubans, or vietnamese and cambodians after the fall of saigon.
america went to war for 20 years, the longest war in u.s. history, our departure does not mean the promises were not made. promises were made by both parties and by legislatures on both sides of the aisle. now we have to answer questions that become more urgent every day -- what does an american pelvis mean? we believe that it is critical to keep promises while looking forward to a future in which all are protected and welcome through a robust functioning refugee resettlement system. one -- i appreciate the invitation to participate. thank you. >> [applause] >> thank you. let's move on to our first in-person speaker, sadiq amini.
sadiq: thank you for the opportunity to be here. to be here a day after the anniversary of 9/11, i would like to start by saying is another speaker mentioned that the job is not done. as a moderator indicated, the investment in the process, the u.s. is out of afghanistan, but afghanistan is not out of the u.s.'s sphere of influence. the u.s. must still pay attention to afghanistan in terms of its broader objectives in the region. i would like to pet historical context of what is happening -- put historical context of what is happening with respect to the involvement in afghanistan. since the primary objective of
the u.s. in afghanistan in the 1990's was to get involved and make sure that the soviet union is challenged in afghanistan. that involvement, significant involvement of the u.s., along with western countries and their allies, saudi arabia and others, trying to achieve an objective of national security, a strategic objective in that region, which was during the cold war, that influx of involvement that brought in money, weapons, jihadis led to a significant distraction and the institutions that were established and built in that country for decades. it led to the collapse of the governments. afghans fully jumped on board
with western involvement in the jihad against the soviet union, but what happened right after was the u.s. washed their hands of afghanistan, achieving their objective of the cops of the soviet union, and walked away and left afghans to their own demise. this led to a civil war in that country. the involvement of the regional countries lead to destruction with various factions in fighting, misery, migration, and destruction. that was the u.s. in the 1990's, trying to achieve an objective then washing their hands, saying we have no interest. despite the fact that there were voices in washington, d.c. and different capitals indicating that it is important. the u.s. to stay engaged in
afghanistan, nobody listened. the argument put forward is that we are watching from overseas. if anything happens, we will shoot rockets from a neighboring country to dismantle any threat. and they did in fact during the taliban regime in the 1990's tried to shoot rockets, do some stripes, but they did not succeed. it did not succeed. as you all witnessed, what happened during 9/11, i would say that that was clearly a failure on the u.s. decision-makers at the time that did not see the threat as they should have seen it. they thought that they had the capabilities, they did not have much interest. however, when al qaeda attacked the u.s., and the people realized afghanistan was important.
why would you do that? it is not fair for the system, not there for people in afghanistan, not fair for americans, not the right way of dealing with the situation. when he sees that there is a problematic area -- when you see that there is a problematic area, you need to deal with it and it's time. then we saw a massive involvement from the u.s., and all in approach. and international communities, different players involved trying to build this estate. i would say it wasn't a perfect approach but it was a positive, constructive approach that led to significant achievements. girls going to school, roads were built, electricity, people
started realizing they have the right to vote, to elect their leaders. they have a say in their future. there could be a positive future. i and a number of other afghans were the result of the u.s. involvement during the past two decades in afghanistan. we are a direct achievement of that environment -- involvement. despite its involvement, from 2001 when the conference was held to bring to establish an afghan government. the request from the taliban were rejected. that was the first tactical error. there were significant errors afterwards. not investing in this security
to be built until later years. trying to do peace approach. not being coordinated enough. not taking the afghans feelings -- views on the ground into consideration. or bringing those who have been away from the gates. thanking them make decisions. there was a significant part in the system that undermined our democracy. a lot of errors but there were significant achievements. at the end, when the decision was to withdraw it could have been done in a much better, constructive way. there was an agreement with the afghan government. bilateral security agreement that outlined how the u.s. forces could withdraw.
within two years all of the u.s. forces could withdraw. there was no need for the u.s. to negotiate with the taliban. there was no need whatsoever. but the only argument that was put forth was that we are going to negotiate, we are going to utilize the withdrawal to speak with the taliban. hopefully, they will speak with the afghans and there could be peace. but that didn't happen because of the hasty decisions. getting things in a way, timelines. agree with the timeline and pressure to release 5000 taliban presenters from knocking whatsoever just on the hopes that maybe they will negotiate with the afghans and then withdraw and the collapse. and now, what is the policy? what is the tragic? what is the u.s. doing right now?
as far as i see, it's the same policies of the 1990's. we are going to deal with that from afar. we are going to kill every al qaeda or every terrorist. that's not possible. it didn't happen that it's not going to happen now. yes we have advanced technology, we have drones, we have surveillance systems but the nature of the truck, -- threat is underground networks, the type of networks they are operating in this day and age. you cannot deal with that without having the resources on the ground to support the technology from afar. i would close my record -- my remarks saying the right way is not going on extremes. full military involvement.
middleground approach, diplomatic approach trying to bring afghans on the table trying to make the piece, the piece promise work. an organized government that would allow the community to be present to monitor and detect threats from afghanistan. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. we will move on to our final speaker. >> thank you. good morning. i am glad to be here. thank you for being present in this conversation. i am not sure if we have but i want to thank her for everything and everything she and her organization have done. i and my family were one of them.
let me tell you, there is not a single morning that i we compare questioning my presence here. i was at the airport and i had to make a decision to get into one of these lights for the safety of myself and my family. i need my decision at that point of time. i to regret it now given what is happening and most importantly i think it made the decision because i knew that i had to keep my voice and i have to be able to continue to advocate for the kids of afghanistan so i am happy i made the decision. but there is not a decision -- a date or week of been a question the presence here in the u.s.. in the future of my career and profession. as grateful as i am to the safety of myself and my family and also the meaningful
opportunity i have here at the elliott school. i get to turn my experience into a cause and i'm very happy to see some of my students here in the audience. it has been a very meaningful experience for me. i think in all of this logistics and numbers, you know, the pressure of evacuation, let's not forget the human side of things. i think it is the people who have evacuated to the u.s. there are many like me who question their presence here every morning and given the opportunity, the guarantee that their lives are going to be safe. they are going to be back in the blink of an eye that includes me. they can take me back to kabul and guarantee my safety, i would like to take that. here are a couple of other things.
sometimes, the way i presence make sense to me here is to look at it in terms of civil disobedience. if i have a ticket tomorrow going to go back to kabul but am i going to come back you know, have a life there? especially as a woman? am i going to be able to use my expertise? you know, be in a decision egging position and have the type of impact i have had in the past 20 years? that is a big question given what we have been observing since the return of the taliban to kabul. the case of afghanistan has been reduced to a humanitarian case. as essential as humanitarian aid is i have to remind you by itself it cannot alleviate the problem. there is also no quick solution
to the problem of afghanistan. one think we all need to keep in mind and we talked about that stability in afghanistan will require a combination of political solution. i actually think that reducing the case to a humanitarian cause, again, as essential as it is it has served the taliban. they don't have to do anything, right? to make the economy work, to generate commercial activity, to generate money in the economy so people can have food on their tables. in fact, some of the conversations that we have had with our former government, the taliban seems to think that putting food on the table is not
the responsibility. it is the responsibility of the international community. that is understandable given the nature of how this group has operated in the past 20 years. i have spent a lot of my career in government and before we were making sure institutions work and can deliver services to the public. but during my time i didn't expect the taliban to take kabul and the next morning think about nonideological tasks. mike who is going to collect the garbage, who is going to provide electricity, how is the health-care system going to work? these are some of the very important questions that we all unfortunately don't tend to ask about us. the 21st century citizen of the
world doesn't deserve to live under a regime like that of the taliban. is that sinking in? how often do we ask that question? i think for me, i don't see myself as an achievement of the u.s. presence. i resented when people called a woman like me again of the u.s. presence. if anything my presence here in the u.s. makes me feel like a reward of that war and the very reason i wake up every morning and i don't, i question my being here i do see myself as part of the process. i do see myself as a product of the engagement there is a product of the sacrifices of my
family who survived the unfortunate work. and provided me education despite the education back on. and also, but equally as somebody who use the opportunities made available by the international presence. i do not see myself as a direct outcome or a reward of a u.s. presence in afghanistan. i think going forward, it's important that we acknowledge some of the mistakes that were being made in the past. my colleague, back in 2000 -- 2001 right after another love in the process of trying to create of government.
the experience the country half with four but also the voices of the kids and the expertise of the afghans who knew their country we better than anyone else. so i think going forward for the taliban, their biggest obama is the impurity of their ideology -- the biggest impurity of the ideology. it is actually now their biggest burden. that is something that serves them with their constituency that helped them recruit soldiers. but now, going from her, if they are going to become lenient and back off from that and try to put together a more inclusive system of government that would allow, you know, aspects of the
society to be part of the system will make it tough for them to deal with their soldiers. on the other hand, they are dealing with a postwar constituency. i am saying postwar because it is postwar for them. their fight was with the u.s., the u.s. is out now so it is postwar for them. they are dealing with a postwar constituency. they are mainly urban, they have been educated, they have used the opportunities provided to them. if our democracy does not necessarily mirror that of the west, i think more and more spaces were created for people to push back against the state. i think i can tell you that
everybody was pretty much well aware of those spaces and very careful of how they engaged with the public. is that democracy in a way? i think, yes, it is. maybe it did not necessarily mirror the version of democracy people have in the west but i think the fact that the spaces for opened up, critical debate happened. there were some form of checks and balances. i think it was a good reminder that some form of democracy while work in this country despite the conventional wisdom. this country is perhaps, you know, the values of this country does not work with democracy.
in the past, perhaps, yes. the war has evolved we are in the 21st century. does it is local or dutch doesn't deserve to live under the live under the rule of the taliban? the crisis is the worst women's rights crisis on the planet right now. sometimes i feel like i see them sitting on the same tables that i used to sit. i see the rooms, that -- of men who have no idea what they are doing. some of them do not know how to read and write. they think the fancy office spaces came at no cost.
we were trying to build the spaces as they waged war against us. part of my work was to make the civil service is presentable. to have a dignified face. a part of that meant renovating office spaces, having proper workspaces for everyone. so now they get to sit in these fancy offices that we built at the cost of our life. not a single day do i have the guarantee of my life. i have huge threats on my life. we continued to do it at the cost of our lives because we believed in and afghanistan that deserves to exist in the 21st century. i'm going to leave it there. i would be happy to respond to
any questions but i hope my focus when i engage i should be able to give them insider perspective and more importantly a prospective that accounts for the agency of the afghan people. as a 21st century citizen who deserves to live in a dignified manner. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you. i think we have an outstanding panel that does cover the entire year issue. the resettlement of afghan refugees to personal experiences as well as their policy and professional perspectives on the continuing situation. just so quick groundrules please raise your hand if you have any
questions. if it is to be directed at a spiegel -- single speaker give your name and if you have any affiliation if you can also say that. >> thank you some much. >> sees a. mike. >> my services i have three questions. and also for everyone. technology underground, could you be more explicit about that? how do you fight the underground network? my second question, i would like to know what do you think about the political identity of the
taliban? and also people from different countries, the lack of [indiscernible] ? maybe share the lack of knowledge outside of afghanistan and what you read in the newspaper. thank you. >> during the past 20 years there were significant presence of the u.s. western allies on the ground. significant networks of
intelligence, human resources, technological advancement which i believe is the primary reason for what the current leaders in the united states, the president and other leaders are taking credit. in the past 20 years there was no other attack on the united states directly. why? that was the primary reason was for the u.s. intelligence networks, capabilities on the ground that was the primary reason. those capabilities are no longer present on the ground. the capabilities of today, or the capabilities of the 1990's with some advancements may be. on technological ground. however, the threats remain. the threat is still the same threat.
those seeking to harm the united states are still present, a life. they are still around. the earth so in that part of the region. their leader was killed in callable despite the fact that the president stated in his remarks that there is no longer terrorist current from afghanistan. and that now they diverted in other regions. and this example is also being used to tell the u.s. public that we have capabilities to of a minute any threat emanating from that region. for how many years for you chart
-- trying to find this man? since 2001. the administration was trying to find this man, eliminate him. those resources were existent. the capabilities, significant resources, technological resources and human resources were in pursuit of that man and eventually he was killed in callable -- kabul. the resources are not pursuing every single terrorist in that region. there is not enough capability to do that and so the reason i am stating is because 20 years involvement worked in preventing and making sure that the terrorists do not have the time to breathe to plan, to network and try to have a base and to try to think to try to plan and
conduct strikes on the rust -- press to. with luck of resources on the ground they are living in mansions right now. bigger having bases. they are openly moving around town. they're speaking, they are talking and they do understand that the u.s. is relying on technology. it is very easy to go silent. it is very easy to plan and coordinate until the last moment. and they can easily do that. if the only way that that threat could be a laminated is to have significant human resources on the ground. local resources on the ground. reliable partners on the ground. afghans who speak the language who are your allies, who would fight and track these elements in kabul.
the liquid to do that, the author good to do that is to have a diplomatic presence on the ground. you can't have intelligence presence without the diplomatic presence. the only way to have diplomatic presence is to have a legitimate recognized government on the ground. so the only way to have a legitimate, recognized government is for the international community to bring all stakeholders together along with taliban to agree on a government, unopposed government. the same government that was envisioned in the agreement which allows the u.s. to leave. that is my recommendation. >> i would like to quickly answer your question. i think i agree with everything sadiq said but i think 20
years is long enough for the u.s. and i think it is digitized now. i'm pretty sure the u.s., with their 20 years of presence, the provinces i think. that is not something i believe the u.s. intelligence community backed on one date -- when they decided to leave afghanistan. i think that a mistake that is happening is when the u.s. started negotiating with the taliban, the u.s. of sound the taliban is going to serve as their partners. that is a mistake because the problem is you have to see them for who they are. they are enablers of the terrorism.
do you think they just by chance took over our country in a matter of only a few weeks? they have connections not only in the region but a big terror network and they have to be seen for who they are. i think to count on them, to think of them is a national actor and count on them as a partner for counterterrorism, especially given what they have done in the past year is proved their incompetence. security seems to be -- in terms of governing the country. i think banking on the violence expertise of a group and rationalizing it as counterterrorism, to me doesn't make sense. i think that's where the
problem lies and it needs to be looked into more critically. even the people who currently justify the ongoing leniency one of the reasons they bring the taliban i have seen many especially those present in d.c. who have also been critical of the because i think they will part of pushing some of the narratives during the negotiations that brought us to work we are. the same of servers -- observers continue to push some of these narratives rationalizing the taliban. i think that is a great mistake.
on the question of political identity that can be traced down to 1989. i saw the account of how they were backed by the u.s. they kicked out the soviet from afghanistan and they got hiding amongst himself which led to a civil war and that is for all of the crisis was born. it was a group, their religious ideology has been very strict. right when they started off, clearly i think during the negotiations they hardly managed to turn it into a political party. so now, they are clearly a part of the political reality of afghanistan but not the whole of it.
in terms of rank and file, they remain reflective of a some demographic which is mainly young men. most of them, many of them have good raised in refugee camps. for the first time, afghans actually had to become refugees because of the intensity of the world with the soviets. so if that answers the question, to an extent. we do consider themselves unfortunately and i think they had 20 groups to prove that when you favor 20 years that unfortunately it is better to make a point, i think they have made the points. the political process somehow managed to turn them into a political actor.
we need to change things so that there are more realities that deserve to be part of the political process. >> i also want to give you the opportunity if you have anything to respond to that? >> i'm sitting among experts what is happening on the ground. >> other questions from the audience? over here. >> i have two questions. i am a student. i was part of the operation allies and i am a member of the media.
the media coverage allocable -- kabul yesterday. my question, i agree with you the u.s. also hands-off that i don't think it is just the government the public. what do you think the american public and the media can do to help the government to get their attention back to the african refugees and the policies? and another question, i am just wondering the approach of a middle ground, how do you think
that could be achieved under three different administrations? >> thank you so much. let me also reiterate the refugee agencies for afghans, i think despite the fact that the u.s. administration, their priority is getting the u.s. service members out of harms way, that was a very good approach. that was positive i think in my perspective. but the process could have managed to serve afghans also. in my assessment, i think the u.s. public, those who have been involved, those whose sons and daughters have served in afghanistan have lost their loved ones, who have had the family members named -- named
--think back. reversing george washington university a number of other academies have been involved in we are grateful for this attention despite the effect -- the fact that the administration is focused on other areas of the world like taiwan and ukraine. the people are engaged. the people are trying to make sure that the country that the u.s. public has invested, the u.s. institutions have invested the military, diplomats have invested that 20 years of investment to not go to waste. that we do not see or repeat a tragic event of what we saw on 9/11. and i would encourage everyone to stay involved on that and to keep pushing on that to keep
engaging on that i do appreciate all refugee agencies involved right now. and trying to push this afghan adjustment act which is very critical, it is very important because there are hundreds of thousands of afghans in the west who are waiting to come to the united states. they have plus the country and now they are sucking -- seeking refuge here. the least we can do is give them permanent resident status and give them credentials, the way the type of people they are. they are allies that served the u.s. interest in afghanistan. the going to be a great addition to u.s. society and they have already proved that. at the same time i think it is important for different institutions, different public institutions the same way we are doing here is to engage afghans. they talk about afghanistan that there is not afghan president's
to speak about afghanistan. i think we need to change that. there were times where we had afghans in the united states. let's get them involved on afghan issues. post-truth -- let's treat it as one of the issues you will speak on any other economy, society. engaging these afghans who have recently arrived would lead to brainstorming have ideas to eventually come up with solutions that would easily be taken up by any administration. in terms of the differences of the u.s. administrations, what i saw in my capacity, mostly the policy on afghanistan has been bipartisan in the post 20 years. we saw a little bit of
partnership in terms of how the u.s. should withdraw. there was bipartisan support on how the process should be handled. at the end, as we saw, a deal that was negotiated by the trump administration was being upheld by the biden administration and that indicated bipartisan feeling on how it should go in afghanistan. i totally understand and support the policy decision. the only thing i would state is changing hands from one administration to another, may be if it wasn't one they could have managed it well. leadership in washington and the sudden fear that may be the process that would lead to some surface members losing their lives and nobody wanted to take that responsibility left to this decision.
>> if you would. >> i agree with my colleagues on this. just a couple points of would add. first, we saw during the past year 50,000 volunteers who wanted to help with the african response and i think that is one small point that highlights how engaged americans were roughly a year ago but obviously, as was mentioned, the challenge with the competitive fast-paced is cycle is that there are issues, you know, the invasion of the ukraine that has perhaps moved the how points to the margin. it is critically important to question the american public to recognize first that there are
conservative estimates hundreds of thousands of afghan allies and supporters who are still in harm's way. second, we shouldn't view this as you are dumb but i want to note how that competitive news cycle plays out. ukrainian refugees, they have been admitted to the u.s. through humanitarian roles. what we have seen as both afghans and ukrainians admitted through the same program at different paces. ukrainians, you have about 40,000 accepted under the humanitarian system but with afghans who are applying to come to the u.s., they are applying through humanitarian programs only about 8000 of those applications have been adjudicated and a jaw-dropping 96% have been denied. meaning that roughly 400, only
400, a little less than that actually have been admitted to the u.s.. this is where i think it is critically important to continue to press this issue in the media with the american public to say let's pass this act and recognize that even with military withdrawal our mission is far from over. >> further questions? the dam has burst. can we come up in the front? >> hello. i'm a student. i appreciate your personal story
. you said that is about democracy in afghanistan. i want to assure more about progress, those building blocks. was congress on that? how can the united states help address the? so we can come to a more, or freedom in their country. >> that's an amazing question, thank you. there are times i don't even want to let a democracy. that is to western overturn and i would alienate the space in oakley. i think it's just a human nature
of wanting to live a free and dignified life. some believe the university will acknowledge value. something that i always like to speak about is the continued sovereign presence of females on the streets of afghanistan. as we speak, demanding their rights. that doesn't get media coverage or in the states. why it doesn't get coverage? because it defies the image of an afghan woman has the poor victim. you know, and fact, i have come across people who have asked why are you real afghan? you don't wear a scarf. you speak english. you know?
i told him, if you expected me to come from a background or my father and my husband were beating me and i come here, i don't have a story. the only way that the world those to engage with the afghans is the language of victimhood. i have made it my personal mission to challenge that. the very fact that you are asking this question, which is a very important question, and i was you asked it it means many out there still believe that the values of the afghan society is not compatible with the values, the universal values of human rights in the 21st century. i think that is where we need to
question what we mean democracy, what is freedom, freedom for me i think is everyone should have their individual definition of freedom. there were a lot of conversations when the americans were talking with the total ban. that's process. i earlier talked about these things. they used to call women like me urban afghan women. these were narratives that came right out of d.c. essentially, there is a little bit of leverage that we were pushing in terms of installing some concession lines what the telepath so that our rates were not being taken away from us. it was erased from the process
saying these concessions are being asked for our part afghan women who don't represent the real afghan woman. i just came out of d.c., this came out of a couple of americans. and then of course the government to our other allies had had their own capitals kind of like snowballed. some of these narratives were extremely damaging. to what we were trying to pursue back home it is a traditional society, i agree. it has been affected by 50 years of conflict. when many children are vulnerable to the conflict. it has torn up with the fabric of our society. we have not had an institutional established. do you think it was easy for me
to emerge out of nowhere and sit in a come that? no. he was a daily struggle. i used to tell mike parents that there was every afghan man. again, you see what i'm saying is that on a daily basis i have to push so many social boundaries in the workplace but i understood because for too long the country had gone through what had gone that there was an echo system, an echo system established that made it easy to not demand freedom and rights. placing that? i think the progress people were demanding, people so the spaces that they could demand and even when the submerged a used to tell people people used to say a
woman may not want to go to school and i used to tell them ok. but that also means we are not going to make physical opportunity available in that particular province because some other might want to go. right? so if one woman does not want to go to school, which is in unfortunate argument in itself. instead of pushing those opportunities to more and more rural women. i think it's very complicated when it comes down to that. there were a lot of assessments that say democracy does not work for us. from what i have experienced in that country sitting across tables where the first time people challenged my authority, and didn't really see me as somebody deserving in that room
but that coming to a place where i fought my way through it and by the end of it, i was the boss. now i am too used to being a boss i can't go back to it. i call it my stubborn hope for afghanistan. i think what keeps me basically held on to the hope, as difficult as it is is the fact that i saw it is possible. i believe that there. >> questions? >> should i stand? i am a fellow here at elliott school. we are grateful to have you here with us.
thank you for convening this panel. also i just want to thank our panelists or illuminating some of the problems. i get the, i would say the deeper and the reasons for what happened. it will probably take another decade to evite weight. the four other afghans students and those across the world interested in that part of the world if you could make a comment on why it is important for the united states foreign policy or the world in general because it should be political in nature.
also, if you could, on moving forward to deal with that, the same issues. >> i will not abuse my position as moderator. i will just make a comment, i started off my introduction by saying this is a war whose cost continued to accumulate. it is the most expensive for in american history. it is unfair -- unpaid four. there were questions about data, some statistics we think about, 600,000 american troops over 20 years were stationed in afghanistan problems the shortest rotations for convent
ever -- combat in american history. 22% of the american populace has been directly exposed. it is intentional that it remains foreign. remaining foreign, it can be forgotten. most of the american debt in afghanistan was not military u.s. personnel but was contractors. it was privatization of war because private enterprise and private pilots does not have the public accountability to it that would be something that we have seen in past examples. just to say those kind of contextual points that reiterate what our panelists have said and also, to give a shout out to kr iish she could hurt organization have done and continue to do amazing work. in the post, the government, the
u.s. government has fully partnered on as she continues to call out with the passage of an afghan act to bring refugees to the united states. there is a collective amnesia about afghanistan. if you say afghanistan policies, it's like having the a of the scarlet letter on your back. my apologies for abusing my position of chair and i will turn this over to our other esteemed colleagues. >> in order to say what's the way forward, we discussed where things stand. where things stand is that the u.s. is trying with the hopes of getting the taliban to cooperate, the same promises that they had in the agreement
that allowed the troops to withdraw your trying to find a way so that they can ensure the television are responsible counterterrorism partners. that is not going to happen for obvious reasons. or they send in terms of their homo-donda, the spec the fact that they stated in the document that they would cooperate which was the only one really u.s. to get up. now there is no incentive to cut off their brethren. for the sake of the united states and for the sake of the people of afghanistan second, there is nobody to establish even if they say they're going to cooperate there is now way to establish a viable mechanism with a group which is in charge of the country, you do not have
anybody on the ground to monitor that. we are attractive figure out a mechanism. how would you keep the group inside the country house accountable for something when you are not even present? you don't have anybody on your side to sell the other side of the table to discuss and keep them accountable to what they are going to promise. second, they did not fulfill the promise that they are going to negotiate with other afghans. if they are not committed and they are not fulfilling their commitment to speak with the afghans, they just wanted to be part of the government, they want kids in school i do have other ethnic groups being represented. and have a safe where the country would move forward. when we have hope that there would be speaking in any sort of commitment they are going to
have with the u.s. that's awkward to happen. as things stand as we have a government in kabul, a group of people acting as government in our country where nobody recognizes them. the whole world is not recognizing that group who is in charge of the country for the past year. there are millions of cans living in that country and thousands of others abroad with no future whatsoever. in a limbo where the whole world is sitting and looking at this group and say we are not going to recognize this, ok? so what's the alternative? there are other afghans willing to fight that group, the resistance. if we are not going to support them either because we are not supporting conflict. i support that. don't support conflict. don't support those who fight the group. where you going to do? wigs by and just watch people,
girls not go to school for a year, men, women not have access to medical resources? not have access to food, not have a future whatsoever? what is the alternative? people will say we don't have any incentive. we don't have any means to pressure the television to come negotiate at the table with other afghans. i would see you do. there are resources and means available to the u.s. to pressure travel ban in kabul to come to the aid of other afghans. the only way you can have that is engaging afghans are outside the country there is a significant number of afghans, civil societies, young leaders, all leaders, hundreds and thousands of them already in the united states.
engaged with a group of afghans and get their views on what could be the future for the country by engaging thing, but just engaging the people create leverage. because that is the status of the situation in afghanistan. one foreign governments start engaging afghanistan are broad doesn't matter how is the pilot they will come rushing, they will come running to our support of what is going on. you're going to make it to different places and that is the opening to make them negotiate, agree on a political framework that so they can do to presented. they need the government is going to hold the national goals. thank you. >> i think we have time for one final question, a quick one.
this gentleman upfront. >> if we can combine yours and the woman in the book. green put those two together. actually, so you have the microphone. now are that the microphone go? >> i just have one question. re-freeze it stimulated through the, are there other international organizations and with the be allowed to be there is an as possible? be a long question. >> the gentleman upfront, if you can pass that. >> i teach poetics and my
classroom, i was going to ask about how ukraine, ukrainian refugee crisis has affected the african refugee crisis any answers that already it has affected you give us the numbers. or wonder if you have further analysis as to why did -- for that is the case? why they are coming and at a much higher rate than afghan refugees despite the 20 year commitment made in afghanistan i can imagine some of the possible answers and i would love to hear what you have to say about it. >> thank you. those are quite full questions but if i can give each of the panelists just a quick moment to respond. when we go in reverse order and start with you. >> if we haven't made you confused enough i just wanted to
say that the case of of guinness and is a complicated case. i think the issue of political legitimacy is important. i started with saying this should be a political solution not economic and humanitarian alone by itself. the question of political legitimacy also remains weak at the problem to that is we are artificial construct. we are not a natural born state and come megan no, in order to go into why that, you should take my class because there is a whole class on why we are able to see that is the state and by the challenge of political legitimacy had to be one that we were dealing with for a very long time. i think even today we are in the same point weather is a
challenge or political legitimacy and what is the process to -- creating it. let's mention some of the ways to engage other afghans of the taliban and acknowledging all other aspects of the society. one tricky thing that has remained throughout that has remained throughout our history in f and a is whenever the question of logistical -- political legitimacy arises. i know this when i engage about the issue, i don't ask for the international community help. because i was too deeply involved in it to understand that some of what we are suffering right now because of the policy choices of the international community. i'm trying to think more about what it is we should do on our part to try to find a solution for this problem that we encounter every 20 years or
every other decade. i know that when it happened, we did not have political legitimacy. there was a vacuum of power and we tried to solve it by erecting a government supported by the americans. and now, if anything, i call for responsible engagement of the international community. i think the solution remains. that is supposed to be my concluding remarks on how we see the way forward. the afghans themselves need to figure out the solution to political legitimacy. it has been haunting us for a very long time and we cannot outsource it to foreign patronage or whatever is being supported by the foreigners. that's what happened. the moment the americans started
talking with the taliban, he lost his political legitimacy. it was defined by support of the u.s. to him. if we are going to have another international committee back to government, 10 years down the line, it will collapse again. this requires a more critical inward look by the afghans. and the international community should continue to play their role but in a very responsible way. the u.n. has not been an effective partner. i have a lot of issues with them and i think they should pack up and leave because they continue to create further problems for the country. that's the other thing. i think everybody coming there should responsibly engage with trying to understand. i think the leaders are currently underground. i feel like i have lost the right and the agency to comment on the issue.
there is resistance on the ground, women taking to the streets and men taking to the streets on a daily basis. on multiple occasions i have been asked. to come to the sort of sessions, which is important. and the class that i take here is my way of contributing. if anybody should be consulted, they should continue to push on the face of brutal violence they are facing by this draconian regime. i will end it there. that's all from my side. i hope everybody was able to take something away from this session. >> i tend to differ about whether afghans have the capability.
i think given where we are located, it's the curse of geography that afghanistan institutions, no matter what state of time in history you look at, it has been prone to collapse when foreign powers try to evolve for their own interest. we have no say whatsoever on that bigger game of chess being played among powerful players. that is why any period you see that lacks engagement, it depends where afghanistan's situation is. like when we had four years of stability and suddenly we had a system that is stable and trying to move towards development. nobody pays attention, the foreign power is engaged on their own. however, the reverse of that happens in the 1990's.
and we engage among themselves but afghans for six years suffer. and we are seeing a similar situation right now. a lack of international engagement which is negatively affecting afghanistan. changing what's happening underground against a group of extremist holding guns and ready to shoot at anybody disrespecting them or their leader. those women on the streets, they are the future. for them to have a future, they want to support them. the only way that will happen is opening up the political pathway for them to have a say to be involved.
what happened in 2001 is the u.s. led process with the stakeholders, trying to bring afghans together. it was very constructive. the only thing they said, a tactical error at the beginning. that should be fixed this time. maybe the u.n. could take the lead or the u.s. could take the lead. what is clear is that the countries in the region do not have the capability and do not have the will. the chinese, they are only economic interest is what they take out of afghanistan. the iranians, it's a religious interest. the pakistanis want afghanistan to be a black hole. central countries want to do nothing. so unless a community takes the lead, nobody does anything in
the region for the sake of afghanistan. only saviors are the west and the u.s., given an opportunity for the people of afghanistan to see a better life and they could do the same thing without the need to put u.s. service members underground in harm's way. just diplomatic resources trying to organize afghans to resolve the issue. >> the final word? >> let's contextualize this. we had 80,000 afghans resettled in the past year or so. and compare that to 100,000 ukrainians that relocated in half of that time. why the difference? it is the question that actually -- afghans and advocates alike have asked the administration.
only 6000 have been admitted to the u.s. through the special immigrant visa program. it is kind of the data i highlighted earlier. that is considered the quickest mechanism to procure short-term protection. but with afghans, we see a 96% denial rate. and i think that is in stark contrast to ukrainians where you see 50,000 ukrainians approved in just four months. one reason is that president biden excepting 100,000 refugees was viewed as a commitment that needed to be met. the u.s. did not make a similar commitment with the evacuation. they have been other priorities in the administration's mind.
that effort was secondary. a lot of critics would say, where is the equity in the system? even at the southern border, while we had 20,000 ukrainians admitted through the southern border, we had thousands of haitians that were violently returned to mexico. that, i think, raises the question of why the difference? the truth is, the broader principle has to be that america is a global humanitarian leader. we should be able to walk and chew gum. that means having a robust asylum system at the southern border and a humanitarian emergency situation where all of those who fear for their lives are able to come. >> thank you.
and thank you to the audience. we have gone slightly over and i think it is indicative of the interest in this topic and our speakers. each of our speakers has a public profile. you can follow them on twitter, you can take their classes which i strongly encourage for any of you students. and please join me in thanking our speakers for their insight today. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022]
>> live today on c-span, former house speaker paul ryan will discuss inflation and financial technology. that event is set to begin at 2:15 p.m. eastern. then coming up this afternoon, president biden will talk about his cancer moonshot initiative. we will bring you live coverage of that event in boston and c-span now, the free mobile video at. -- video app. >> on capitol hill, the senate
returns today at 3:00 a.m. eastern, voting on president biden's judicial nominations to u.s. appeals court. house comes back from summer recess tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. eastern and lawmakers are expected to pay tribute to the late queen elizabeth ii and vote on a resolution honoring the longest serving british monarch. two representing new york state and one from alaska, replacing the late longtime congressman don young. watch live coverage of the house on c-span. the senate on c-span two. you can also watch on c-span now or c-span.org. c-span is your unfiltered view of government. funded by television companies and more including charter communications. >> broadband is a force for
empowerment. that is why charter is investing billions in building infrastructure, upgrading technology, and powering opportunity in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers giving us a front row seat to democracy. during his first public appearance since the supreme court overturned roe v. wade, chief justice john roberts defended the authority of the supreme court to interpret the constitution. he also expressed concern that critics of the controversial decisions have questioned the court's legitimacy. he spoke at the u.s. court of appeals for the 10th circuit conference in colorado springs. [applause]
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