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  • Author: Paolo Cotta-Ramusino
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: On 23-24 January 2016, approximately 55 senior participants from a wide range of backgrounds gathered in Doha to discuss the shared goal of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. The meeting was a non-official (“academic”) exploration of current issues and not an official negotiation. It was held in the spirit of mutual respect and non-discrimination. All participants recognized the importance of dialogue, and many had traveled very far to participate in these discussions. The hope is that the points discussed in these non-official meetings be considered by all official negotiations. All expressed appreciation to the government of Qatar for allowing this meeting to take place and for the relevant support. There is a unanimous consensus that these meetings should be continued on a regular basis. The goal of the meeting was to explore the options for a ladder or steps toward a stable peace in an independent, unified Afghanistan that would reflect the values, including Islamic values, of the people of Afghanistan, while recognizing the diversity of the Afghans. Discussions showed that there were many shared concerns. These areas of commonality create opportunities for progress. Dialogue is needed to determine the steps forward to addressing these concerns. 1. Peace is an urgent need. Decades of war that have been imposed on Afghanistan, have had a devastating impact on all Afghans. People are waiting impatiently for peace. If progress is not made soon, many fear the country may face other threats that might further complicate the process. 2. Military confrontation must end. The sovereignty of Afghanistan and the desired peace and stability will ultimately be achieved via political cooperation within a framework of legitimacy established by an appropriate constitution. Foreign troops must eventually leave Afghanistan. 3. Some participants believe that the Constitution should be amended, while others believe that the constitution should be substantially rewritten. Concrete proposals should be discussed in detail in future meetings. 4. Outside forces should not control the politics of Afghanistan. Instead, international technical, economic and cultural cooperation should be promoted. 5. The freedom for all parties to discuss the path to peace needs to be ensured from now on. The highest priority in this regard is enabling all sides to sit together. Blacklists should be eliminated and freedom of movement should be guaranteed. Visas should be facilitated for those to attend such discussions. All agreed that the Taliban should have an office and an address. 6. To foster dialogue among all parties, some participants invoked Afghanistan’s long-established tradition of the Jirga. A peace Jirga of credible, impartial Afghans could be convened, perhaps drawn from participants at this conference. Other institutions, such as Pugwash, could also provide a forum, but Afghans must lead. It was pointed out that the Doha dialogue and its follow-ups do not interfere with the current quadrilateral talks. 7. A ceasefire should be part of negotiations. 8. The protection of civilians and an end to civilian casualties are shared goals and high priorities. The recent increase in civilian casualty rates, including the heavy toll on children and women, was noted. All sides should ensure accountability and the prosecution of abuses. 9. Constitutional issues are of primary concern and need to be discussed in specific detail. Afghanistan should have an Islamic government. According to some participants, the present constitution needs to be changed, provided that it be based on Islam and enforce national sovereignty. A fundamental concern is that any constitution should ensure there will be no monopoly of power and no discrimination against people with different religions and backgrounds. 10. It was noted that peace can create a better environment for economic development, which will benefit all the people of Afghanistan. The role of civil society, freedom of expression, and education according to Islamic principles in achieving these goals was agreed. 11. The activities that are performed under the name of Daesh in Afghanistan are a foreign phenomenon and are rejected by the Afghan people. 12. All emphasize the need to uphold the rights of women, and to end violence against women. Some believe these points need to be very clearly defined, and in particular to provide guarantees regarding women’s rights. There should be increased accountability for human rights abuses. 13. Health and education issues are a priority independent of the various political positions. 14. Protection of public properties such as schools, medical facilities, and the country’s infrastructure is essential. People who commit crimes against them should be prosecuted. 15. There is the need to address the devastation to society from past decades. Drugs, high unemployment and corruption have all taken a high toll on Afghan society. Gains that have been made in terms of increased life expectancy, increased access to health and education, and improvements to the economic structures should be maintained. 16. Threats to society from remnants of war, including unexploded ordnance, must be addressed. 17. All sides share the desire for future engagement with the outside world, and welcome friendship and cooperation with the international community based on mutual respect. Support from the international community in helping to build up Afghanistan, including its roads and schools, will be welcomed by all sides. 18. Participants expressed the strong desire of continuing the series of meetings like the two recent Pugwash meetings in Doha.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: Building on the sustained engagement of previous years, Pugwash continues to hold meetings seeking a way forward on the future of Afghanistan. In recent months, rounds of meetings have been held in Afghanistan and in Doha, with over one hundred people drawn from Afghani tribal and civic life having participated. Kabul meeting, May 2016 Under discussion were ideas for a possible peace agreement with the Taliban movement that could bring about a ceasefire (without entering into details). Pugwash has worked on a document for some points that could be considered in a possible agreement between the Taliban movement and the Government of Afghanistan. In his preface to this, Secretary-General Paolo Cotta-Ramusino notes: “After 37 years of war (and foreign invasions), the people of Afghanistan are strongly looking for the restoration of peace. Everybody is tired of war. The continuing military confrontation between the forces of the Government and of the Taliban will not give any meaningful “victory” to either side. So there is an urgent need of a compromise and an agreement in order for weapons to be finally laid down over the entire territory of Afghanistan.”
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: In the second half of 2016, Pugwash maintained its efforts to bring together different elements of Afghan society to discuss ways to build a peaceful future in the country. Consultations were held in Kabul and Jalalabad, convening many hundreds of individuals from across the political spectrum in the country. There was also a meeting held in Islamabad to discuss the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan moving forward. Following from meetings earlier in the year, there was continued focus on developing a set of substantive items for inclusion in a draft peace agreement. An earlier version of the document was expanded and clarified in consultation with all relevant parties.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Hamdullah Mohib
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan of today would surprise most outsiders, even those who closely follow developments in the country. We are often wrongly branded as a failing state with a struggling government whose young people are fleeing en masse for Europe and whose military has lost control of the security situation. While anecdotal evidence can always be found to lend isolated support to such claims, this sweeping characterization offers a distorted picture of reality.
  • Topic: Security, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs
  • Abstract: Pugwash held a non-official meeting on Security in Afghanistan in Doha on 2-3 May 2015. The meeting involved more than 40 participants, all of whom represented only him/herself and not any Institution or group
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Regional Cooperation, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Dr. M. Chris Mason
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan were lost before they began, not on the battlefields, where the United States won every tactical engagement, but at the strategic level of war. In each case, the U.S. Government attempted to create a Western-style democracy in countries which were decades at least away from being nations with the sociopolitical capital necessary to sustain democracy and, most importantly, accept it as a legitimate source of governance. The expensive indigenous armies created in the image of the U.S. Army lacked both the motivation to fight for illegitimate governments in Saigon, Baghdad, and Kabul and a cause that they believed was worth dying for, while their enemies in the field clearly did not. This book examines the Afghan National Security Forces in historical and political contexts, explains why they will fail at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war, why they cannot and will not succeed in holding the southern half of the country, and what will happen in Afghanistan year-by-year from 2015 to 2019. Finally, it examines what the critical lessons unlearned of these conflicts are for U.S. military leaders, why these fundamental political lessons seem to remain unlearned, and how the strategic mistakes of the past can be avoided in the future.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Politics, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam
  • Author: Gerald F. Hyman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In his 2013 State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama announced that by the end of 2014 "our war in Afghanistan will be over" and, a month earlier, that "by the end of next year, 2014, the transition will be complete—Afghans will have full responsibility for their security, and this war will come to a responsible end." The military transition, successful or not, is in full swing. Of course the war will not come to an end in 2014, responsible or otherwise. Even if the military drawdown goes as planned, "America's commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change," the president said. On the military side, our enduring commitment will focus on training, equipping, and funding the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and "some counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue remnants of al Qaeda and their affiliates," presumably the Taliban. As the United States draws down, so too will the remaining coalition countries of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) under North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, South Asia
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Creating political unity and reasons to be loyal to government. Creating a new structure of governance and balance between factions. Effective revenue collection, budget planning and expenditure, and limits to corruption. Fully replacing NATO/ISAF with the ANSF and "layered defense". Creating a new structure of security forces, advisors, and aid funds, to include addressing the presence of US and other nations' personnel. Acting on the Tokyo Conference: Creating effective flow and use of aid, economic reform, and limits to corruption and waste Stabilizing a market economy driven by military spending and moving towards development: Brain drain and capital flight. Coping with weather and other challenges to agricultural structure and with pressures to increase the narco - economy. Dealing with neighbors: Pakistan, I ran, Central Asian nations, India, China, and Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Military Strategy, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, China, South Asia, India, North America
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Creating an effective transition for the ANSF is only one of the major challenges that Afghanistan, the US, and Afghanistan's other allies face during 2014-2015 and beyond.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Anthony H. Cordesman, Michael Peacock, Aaron Lin
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Data on Afghan Surge show had little or no lasting impact. NATO/ISAF stopped all meaningful reporting on security trends after EIA fiasco. No maps or assessments of insurgent control or influence versus limited dataf 10 worst areas of tactical encounters. No maps or assessments of areas of effective government control and support and areas where government is not present or lacks support. Shift from direct clashes to high profile and political attacks makes it impossible to assess situation using past metrics, but HPAs sharply up. UN casualty data and State Department START data on terrorism highly negative. No reason for insurgents to engage NATO/ISAF or ANSF on unfavorable terms before combat NATO/ISAF forces are gone.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States