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tv   Forum Explores U.S. Political and Economic Strategy in Afghanistan  CSPAN  September 9, 2017 3:09am-4:40am EDT

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landscaping of $1.2 million. this is the type of waste that is in our government. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on q&a. >> yesterday, former u.s. diplomats who worked in afghanistan discussed of the country's political and economic problems and the roles of india, china and pakistan in afghanistan's domestic politics. they also answer questions from the audience at this event hosted by the center for strategic and international , d.c.s in washington it is about an hour and a half. daniel: we are going to get
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started. the chair here at csis. we are here to talk about the nonmilitary components in the u.s. strategy in afghanistan. i welcome, many people look him the fact that president trump and the trump administration has come forth with a new strategy for afghanistan without timelines and redoubling got on the commitment. i think the fact that our 2 2 million in school, a lot of at stake in afghanistan. i think there is a lot of progress. it doesn't get a lot of coverage on this so for us to risk letting all of that go, the price is way too high. we have been working on this for a long time here at csis. privilege to work with ambassador wayne, a former coordinator in afghanistan.
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the chairwe have a very good po cover the issues today but i think the other point i want to make is you can't solve the challenges of afghanistan without diplomacy and without development. we certainly welcome the fact there is -- it requires a security component but it is being changed by diplomacy, and development in the private sector. the other thing is we want to work ourselves out of a job. differentn is thain a place than 10 years ago. you look at the assistance of gdp, it is much smaller. they are collecting taxes. for every dollar they are collecting in taxes from a formal private sector, that is one less dollar afford assistance to pay for schools, hospitals, security. we want to see those numbers go up. we want to see economic growth happened and work ourselves out
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of a job. or work ourselves into a smaller part of the job. i think that is possible and we need to have an endpoint and the -- i'm please my good friend and colleague romina bandura will be moderating. it is a real privilege to have her with us. i'm grateful she will be moderating this. abdullah fivece to give an afghan perspective on this. he will make some brief remarks and turn the panel over to my friend, romina bandura. abdul, please come up. [applause]
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abdul: thank you for the invitation and arranging this timely and important discussion. ambassador olson, ambassador wayne, mr. gast, mr. grieco, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. the policy announced by the president on july 31 is an important milestone. we welcome the shift to a condition based strategy which means if the determination on the number of troops relies on the ground reality. the goal is aggressively pursuing reforms, self-reliance and peace and reconciliation efforts. we believe in the fact that the military is not the only solution for the afghan problem. development, good governance, reform, tackling corruption and
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education, regional conciliation are vital steps to achieving lasting stability. the government of afghanistan is committed to reforms and addressing its internal challenges. we decide our commitment to contact with the u.s. which is aimed at prioritizing existing cooperation with the government of afghanistan and achievements against a set of benchmarks in a number of core areas. the two countries will meet regularly to see if the benchmarks are met according to the established bylines. contact will cover critical areas including economy, security, governance and we conciliation. significant reforms in areas of business climate, financial sector and primary sector are underway.
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we are also committed to providing infrastructure for trade and including primarily our transport and telecoms. afghanistan is pursuing a self-reliant agenda and is committed to improving government services and effectiveness, rule of law and control of corruption. in regards to peace and re-conciliation, afghanistan is trying to promote bilateral, trilateral and multilateral regional cooperation. it is an important step in this direction. ar peace strategy calls for proactive outreach in support of peace and reconciliation. we believe with the proper support of the international community, we would have a significant progress in this area.
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i would like to end on the note that afghanistan is moving forward and the people of afghanistan are committed to owning their future. just to make it short, because i was told i only have four minutes, thank you very much. [laughter] [applause] romina: thank you very much. now we are going to, i'm going to introduce the distinguished panel. it is a pleasure to be here. bandura, a senior fellow at cscis. i'm joined by ambassador tony wayne, former deputy ambassador and coordinating director for economic affairs for the u.s. embassy in kabul. also, mr. earl gast. the former mission director of afghanistan for usaid. formerdor richard olson,
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u.s. ambassador to pakistan and special representative for afghanistan and pakistan. grieco,jeffrey president and ceo of the afghan-american chamber of commerce. asking twoo begin questions about the past. and so, one of the main issues is what is different in afghanistan since september 11? the second question -- i am an economist, i like data so the second question for the panel would be what are some key achievements, some key data points that you could talk about september 11 that have
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been a success and we can show progress in afghanistan? those are two questions about the past and then i will ask you questions about the future strategy and the future of afghanistan. jeffrey: thank you. september 11 that have been ai think as a former assist administrator at usaid, think the investments we made early on from 2002 on were focused on building the social infrastructure of afghanistan which was completely decimated. we focused on building schools, curriculum design, girls in school, building clinics, community-based clinics, establishing midwife systems and all of that early infrastructure investment. maternal death rates went from 189 out of 211 up to where it is now which is about 110 and that is dramatic progress for a country to make in a short time. it usually takes 30 years to see that kind of affect. schools, 80% of the girls now in schools. it has taken a little bit of a fallback the last six or seven years. there are more schools built,
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perhaps too many schools because of conflict zones overtook the schools that we had constructed with the afghan community. i think education and social progress and health care has taken dramatic steps forward. other steps -- economic steps are really important. that have exceeded to the wto and working very hard to comply with all the requirements with the typical state have to do and with very little capacity in their own ministries to do that, it has been hard but they are working through it diligently with great support from the donor community. the revenue collections in the last few years now have started to pick up. domestic resource mobilization is improving. i think that is very created to the president because he is focused on improving the domestic resource mobilization. the physical state is ok but i qualify that because the imf is in a workup with afghanistan, so the fiscal state better be ok if we are in a workout situation.
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some regional growth. both within afghanistan, big pockets of very strong private sector led, market led growth going on. other areas that i think is a real model. kabul, i don't like to throw in there as an automatic because it is the center of government and so there is naturally more investment and trade going on with institutions there. movingsident is n aggressively to integrate the regional economy. they now have a direct rail service from china coming into northern afghanistan. there are now direct flights, cargo flights happening every three weeks between kabul into india. that is a new agreement the president signed. that is positive. i'm. from government officials it will be speeding up. last is road integration. a lot of roads being built in the south which will give them access into a freeport area for
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exports. last is icp, a very positive thing. it has taken too long for the president and the government to move forward on the brutalizing the industry sector. they will have a spectrum finally.n for 4g it should have happened probably two years ago. there has been a lot of resistance to it. he announced in open access policy that was put up on the website. you will see big investments coming in the telecom sector which early on in afghanistan, with the help of the u.s. department of defense which built a lot of the infrastructure, that was the driver a lot of the private sector growth early on. now it is shifting to a private sector led effort without any u.s. involvement. thank you. i will not repeat the accomplishments you have cited. the u.s. government was the main donor during that time but it
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was also a consortium of donors from all over the world contributing to the foundational investment, if you will, in afghanistan at an early stage. most people used to thousand two as a reference point and so we see a lot of progress. we have seen a lot of progress from 2002 probably until the time i served with ambassador wayne in afghanistan. was there during the surge in 2010 until 2011. i will also say since that point, progress has been more incremental, slower. even though there are a lot of good things that jeff has done with regards to education, health, the economy, i think the point that the major crisis that we were looking at during a period of 2010-2011 was the
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actual transition and the effect transition would have on afghanistan's government and the economy. more than 100,000 troops propping up the economy and then in a short period of time, a rapid scaling down of the troops. i would say it appears afghanistan has weathered the worst of it. that it has hit bottom perhaps a year and a half ago and the economy is beginning to rebound and that is good. it needs to reflect some of the important things the government is doing with regard to the economy, putting into place ppp law. the president did it himself and very much engaged in running the economy. a former world bank person economist to do. he was also very much involved with ambassador wayne and me in shaping the assistance programs.
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let me contrast the assistance program from back then until now. thered say at that point, was little government capacity and we were overwhelming the government and the country with aid dollars. there were a lot of parallel structures. i think what the government has done now is try to bring in both governments -- the u.s. government and afghan government, bringing more assistance so that it is coordinated and the government is in the lead. i can say from my experience now, i served as senior vice president. we have been involved in basic education in afghanistan for more than 10 years. we have seen phenomenal progress along the way. one thing that doesn't make it into the headlines is really the capacity of the government in the ministry of education and
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the government actually taking lead. we are often told by the government slowdown, we are in charge. we are not ready to move to this district or that district and of course, we follow the government. it is an assistance program that is much more aligned with the government. appearay that it does that a bottoming out has taken place and the economy is on the incline but the biggest concern obviously is security. i am sure we will talk about that throughout this session but when we see the number or percentage of districts under ,overnment control declining that is not a good signal to investors. there are other parts of the world where in an insecure environment we will see investment come in but it is not coming into afghanistan for a. of reasons. on that, because investment is
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not coming in, the economy is growing at a slow pace. the biggest concern that i have as i look at afghanistan is the demographics. it has the third largest in the world. 65% of the population is under the age of 25. that could be the youth curse or the youth dividend. now, it isly right probably more towards the former rather than the latter and the problem is the economy is not progressing, not growing quickly enough to absorb all of those seeking jobs. 400,000 new jobseekers a year come out of the university system or the high school system looking for jobs and the jobs are not there. -- a senset i lack of a lack of a future, to
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include a lack of the job is one of the reasons that insecurity is being fueled. richard: i am not an economist. i am a political officer by trade. i will not go heavy on data i'm afraid, but i will say in terms of what is different between now 9/11 and following earl's comments -- the main difference for us as americans is there have been no attacks against our homeland since 9/11. i think that in particular what is striking 9/11 and following e economy has begun to rebound after the big transition in that it is also the case the security situation has held steadier than many might have expected. the fact is that after the end
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of combat operations at the end of 2014, the taliban and other insurgents threw everything they had at the afghan government and coalition forces and have not any able to actually have capital. dodlatest numbers from suggest that the government territoriesrol of that accounts for 21.4 million afghans. whereas the taliban is in control of territory that probably holds two to three million afghans. i think there is a bit of a perception in the united states that the taliban is on the ascendant. in amight be true purely geographic sense, but with the
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taliban is doing is getting over areas of control deserts and mountains and the cities, the urban centers continue to be under government control, especially the five great cities of afghanistan. i think that is important because another element that was alluded to which is the growth of the population. that population growth has been almost entirely in the citieska. . kabul was a city of 200000 and 2001, now a city in the millions. i don't know if people know how many. million is the usual estimate. most of those people are young and they are connected to the outside world by telecoms in a way that has not happened ever in afghanistan history.
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afghanistan is a very different place. it is much more urbanized. it is much more connected to the outside world than it has been in the past. i think we need to be thinking uralt this in terms of a r traditionalist element versus an urban modernizing element. this is an old conflict that goes back -- tony was talking if this goes back 40 years, 100 years or longer. we can go back to the 11th century on this phenomenon. it doesn't seem to me that the weight of demographics is very much on the side of what i think all of us in this room c is progress -- see is progress. tony: my colleagues have laid out many of the achievements and
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difficulties we still face along the way. remembert is fair to the reason we go so intensely into afghanistan were terrorists out of afghanistan to the united states. the reason we are still in afghanistan and are going to stay have to do with that potential terrorist threat. if you look at the broader and afghanistan and its neighbors, there are a lot of radicals and terrorists in that area. there is a real possibility that if the u.s. were to precipitously leave, more chaos would return to that space. within that context, it is also important to remember that we really didn't understand the scope and can -- complexity of the challenges we were taking on when we read into afghanistan. the united states and its allies have been learning along the way. they have been working with afghan partners and allies and
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we have been learning there is a mix of modernizers and traditionalists and there are different places on that spectrum. and in many ways, we have been telescoping the process of building a more modern state and time that would be fined -- hard to find another nation this has taken place. it is not surprising there are a lot of challenges. in addition to the civil war aspect of this, there is the whichal rivalries continue to complicate the situation in this part of the world. it is really a complex set of challenges. as the u.s. government, we have learned a lot along the way. as a coalition of partners and allies, we have learned a lot along the way. one of the things we have learned is if we are going to
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succeed, there are a number of very important paths of action. those need to be courted. they need to be coordinated well. the security actions are really important. one of the points we are here to talk about today is that it is also essential that we have a good assistance part of that, which is governance, economic development, related programs, and that we have. very effective diplomacy both withe afghanistan, pakistan, inside pakistan, in the region for this all to come together and move in a positive direction. and that remains a very tough set of challenges. whatever you you think about the policy that the united states just announced, the real focus now is on how well is it going to be implemented.
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working with our afghan partners, working with the other countries in the region, trying to find a way to get pakistan to play a more constructive role, to get others involved -- china has a very important relationship with pakistan, to play a more constructive role in moving everyone toward a political settlement. the key parts of this strategy is making more explicit. it was already a line of action in u.s. policy before, but make it more explicit that we are aiming now to move towards a political settlement where the taliban would participate in a peaceful settlement. that is going to take a lot of effort in a lot of these lines of action and we can talk about that more, but it is my belief that the governance assistance is part of that. it is not just the u.s. -- we have many partners and allies
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investing heavily in this area. it is going to be those members of ministries in kabul who are increasing their effectiveness and their performance and delivery services to the people of afghanistan. ,t is going to be the soldiers afghan soldiers and others being more effective but it is also going to be reaching out directly and indirectly to the taliban and others and to creating a space where they could be those political discussions. i will stop there. romina: thank you very much. for my a great segue next set of questions on the future. looking towards the future of afghanistan and president trump's recent remarks, what are for you the key components of a nonmilitary strategy in afghanistan? that is my first broad question. the second question, which
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ambassador wayne touched upon, was the biggest challenge in implementing these key components? i invite you to answer any of these two questions. would you like to start? earl: the new commitment to modesty is really modest. the afghan special forces, that security in areas where the , areas are not present that are contested between the government and daesh and the taliban, they will be able to -- take control of those areas and provide governance and also provide development in those areas.
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i would say that the u.s. assistance program and other donors assistance programs are primarily working in areas where the government has control. if the government is able to movingits control in into those areas fairly rapidly to revive opportunity and services will be a per par prio. i'm not saying we go back to a counterinsurgency approach were stabilization was the primary tool. whoever, afghanistan with the world bank and other donors have an effective method which is through various iterations of international solidarity program, and has now become the citizen stars charter. it is a robust model operating in more than 25,000 communities throughout afghanistan. is building at a very organic
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level. local governments with development. that is a necessary element almost immediately after security has been obtained in new areas. development will come in through education and hopefully at least some market-based economic growth. >> i will be a little bit provocative because i think there are some things from an economic standpoint that need to be said publicly on afghanistan that have not been set for the last eight years. thent to complement president for moving forward on a regional export led growth, import substitution-based development model. he should be focusing on marble, gemstones,
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agriculture, carpets and textiles as well. that is a given. we want him to continue more aggressively pushing independent power production throughout afghanistan and linking that production to long-term concessionary agreements on are transparently done under the extractive industry standards act and focus on coal, gas and other hydrocarbons. the world bank may be the only exception in the world to do coal development for afghanistan in the world. if afghanistan has very good quality cleanburning coal and supply can a norm is a norm is about of their energy requirements around the country. need to continue fighting corruption with very high profile cases. if you have been following afghanistan, they had a three-star general who has been on trial and i believe has been convicted for high-level cotieeto increase the public financial management of the ministries, especially since only 35% of the budgeted
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development donor dollars were mission-critical infrastructure and economic development projects getting implemented, getting spent. that is outrageous and that is one of the reasons why the parliament itself fired seven ministers this past year as a result of that. now i will talk about some things we need to stop doing and some things we need to start doing very quickly. and lesso stop funding ministry capacity development projects. start trying to work on building a real market led economy, private sector economy that can sustain 400,000 new workers each year. not all of them are in afghanistan, some of them are refugee returnees. when you look at the numbers, they actually have college educations. working successfully outside the country and now forced to come back and getting resettled and have skills that can be applied. it is the private sector that will build that. not new ministry capacity that would be a sustainable plan for
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them long-term. we would like to see a private sector development plan for 2018 to 2023 that is designed, written and implemented by the afghan private sector. the need to be an bigger voice for the afghan private sector in the priorities of the government and in the policies and programs they are implementing. i give you one example. i would like to stop but according to the recent world bank report, because of the workout situation that afghanistan is going through, the bank is advocating they spend no more money right now on mission-critical infrastructure and economic investment because they are bad for growth according to the bank. the multiplier, a term the bank uses, the multiplier is a negative. there -- where they would like us to spend more money going forward is social investments, specifically cash transfers and some other areas to help an education. they think that multiplier will be more positive. this is at a tipping point for the country economically.
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they have to have infrastructure investment in agriculture, your ignition systems, energy -- that will not get done without the donor community being in sync. i think the u.s. government needs to dump the current tifa. it is a short bilateral agreement on how we will run our economic relationship together. it has not been amended since 2004. it is outdated, inappropriate. it continues to try to build a bilateral economic relationship between the two countries with an archaic agreement between us. what we would like to do and i think some of this based on my observations from the brussels conference where i was able to sit in on some of these meetings where i was shocked, more upset than the u.s. government is, other donors in europe are upset about afghanistan. we would like to see a bilateral economic relationship from here on going forward where the private sector has a part in an economic relationship.
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there is a council that would form and meet bilaterally when the government are meeting so we can better integrate the private sector led growth strategy longer-term. with the results framework tied into quarterly benchmarks let the administration is now holding the government accountable for. a couple of last points -- i the government of afghanistan is very focused on the wto integration and implementation but i don't want that to take the place of building strong economic relationship with the united states. right now, there is no bilateral tax, bilateral trade, bilateral investment agreement between the u.s. and afghanistan. we have not of the basic foundational instruments for economic relations, but we have them with pakistan, india and all of the other stans, we have all of those agreements in place and they have been for years. fixed.eds to be
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listening to be a priority of both governments to set up these foundations because no u.s. multinational -- they might have regional offices in delhi -- will come in and invest or let any of their personnel in if they don't have investment protection and basic trade production. none of that exists right now. lastly is capital. i think capital from the afghan-american chambers protective is a key issue. there is only 2% of afghan businesses using private banks to fund their investments and to invest. all of it is coming out of their pocket or other investors from the uae and other places. what we want to see is the afghan central bank loosen its overly conservative lending rules on capital and finance for the business sector. a lot of those rules were put in place after the kabul bank scandal but they went to an extreme and now they are offering a higher percentage of earnings for banks to just put
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their money into the central bank and earn it and not land that money or capital that is available for investment out to businesses that could invest in hotels and marketplaces and light manufacturing facilities or mineral extraction and other things. we would like to see the banks and usaid work more carefully, maybe opec has a role, using guarantees, finance insurance and other tools that can help us get capital flowing again inside the economy. right now, it is not happening. i will leave it there. i think we were asked to talk about the future of afghanistan in the context of current u.s. policy. i would just make a couple of observations quickly on current policies. all, it is a
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non-timeline-based approach. in terms of the military forces and there is a modest increase in our military forces and a harder line with pakistan at least publicly. none of these things are actually dramatically new, even the non-timeline-based deployment. the last decision that president obama made on the troops, to retain troops at the 8400 level, was non-timeline-based. it was condition based. it is true. on the increase, i think there is nothing particularly in my perspective for movement on the margins during the obama administration about the troop levels that were there. all of these things i think represent a gradual shifting in emphasis in u.s. policy rather
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than a radical departure, although it is important that the formal statement of condition based is policy going forward. what is a little bit less clear to me is what the u.s. government sees as the overall objective, the central objective to pursue if our engagement in afghanistan. it seems to me what it boils down to is for the u.s. government, there are two broad options for policy going forward. one is a long more, where we continue to part of the afghan state as it has developed over the past 16 years and a lot of the accomplishments have been highlighted. against insurgents. i the other alternative is to attempt to foster and pursue a
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political settlement. again, i look at this in the perspective of political settlement of the conflict -- the context of afghanistan be being in a state of civil war for at least the last 40 years. i also look at it in the context of having been in pakistan as u.s. ambassador, the fact that the taliban has a safe haven in pakistani territory and the record of counterinsurgency is pretty grim. ar those reasons, i'm proponent of pursuing a political settlement with the taliban. it seems to me that that has to be actually the central objective of u.s. policy. you can read that into the president's remarks on the 21st
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of august. he talked about possible political settlement some point in the future. i have yet to meet a four-star general who does not at least , one with afghan experience, that this will end in a political settlement and not outright military victory. it seems to me that if that is indeed the case, we should make a political settlement a central element of u.s. policy. and we should pursue it. my mindl settlement in does not mean the taliban is one day going to wake up and sue for peace. i think that is a very unlikely scenario. i don't think the taliban is winning but i also don't think they think they are losing. modality,to be some to use a diplomatic jargon, for the taliban and the u.s. any international
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community as a whole and regional actors, to discuss the issues and a way forward. the issues that divide them. twice and abide the thing i see as potentially as u.s. policy, and i think someone has given some thought to is the need to bring about some kind of diplomatic process that includes thosegion and includes who were fighting, at least the taliban. aesh.'t think dea the insurgents fighting against the afghan government and in some ways -- this could be a stretch of the historical analogy -- in some sense representing a group of people that has been fighting for the past 40 years. that as mynk colleagues commented and made clear, the challenges of weaving together inside afghanistan and
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in the region to actually get to a positive outcome. inside afghanistan, it is exactly right that there are very important things that can't healthily be done in the economy. this is going to be a combination of working with the government but also other political forces in the country. it is important to remember that relationships between the government and parliament in afghanistan are not too smooth at the moment. relationships within the government still need to be smoothed out at times. the newsense, there is compact which will be in important bilateral mechanism for progress and helping facilitate progress. it needs to do that. it needs to go for work even though we are asking a lot of afghanistan to change, press forward, we need to ask that as part of facilitating broader settlement.
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these things are not easy but they are also going to need actors outside the government to participate. there are elections that is supposed to be coming up in afghanistan. parliamentary and presidential, and that means there will be other political forces that need to be dealt with. not that we should be directing afghan politics but we need to understand what is going on in afghan politics and we and our partners, international partners can be facilitators. we need to talk to the various actors in this process. i think this partners, internatl compact, these regular meetings between the top senior-level afghani and u.s. officials can be very helpful in that process. but not separated from the other donors. this is not just a bilateral deal going on. it is really important that there are these several score of other donors working there, that there are about 30 countries that have troops contribute on
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the military side. that is an important part of what is going on. those allies and partners will be key if we are able to move ahead in this regional process. they can help facilitate that, they can be supportive of it. coalition management, as you might call it, or partner management is an important line of action going forward. rick correctly said, if you try to break it down in the line of action, a lot of it is outside of afghanistan but working in close coordination with what you are doing in afghanistan. this is a big set of diplomatic tasks and you can just look at where rick was ambassador, all the politics and diplomatic maneuvering inside pakistan to get a useful dialogue going with pakistan. there are other tools in this
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process but the key is going to be is there a dialogue that can actually bring us closer together and moving towards a common objective? and i do think as rick was saying, there is a lot of definition, the finding that needs to go on where we want to be in several years. as you notice, the president's policy also talks about the india-pakistan rivalry and it has to be seen in that context. there again is a long-standing very difficult set of issues. the effort will be great to reduce that rivalry but thinking through how you do that, how you whatrate into afghanistan, we are doing on the pakistan-afghanistan border, etc. -- big task. there is a lot to do here and it is going to demand a very nuanced and well coordinated u.s. effort. earl thank you. romina: thank you.
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i have a follow-up question regional actors. how do you see the role of china and russia going forward? that is my last question and then i will open up the last 30 minutes for q&a for the public. earl: on regional actors, one has to include india as well. i will talk about india because i think russia and china, certainly russia on the security side is a potential negative influencer. china, more along the lines of investment in pakistan, is more suitable for ambassador olson. india is also an important player. ambassador wells komar acting assistant secretary for south asia, we believe she may be the
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acting rep as well doing the negotiations in the region. india very recently. it's not just helping forge security ties and strengthen diplomatic ties between afghanistan and india, but it is also the economic aspect. major player in supporting development in afghanistan. they recently inaugurated the freedom band in the province but they also tried to promote commercial ties. i know that there is a commitment from the part of india to expand and afghanistan to expand trade over the next three to four years. i believe the target is $5 billion. another u.s. program is helping to do that. that is a main focus.
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india will become an important place especially on the commercial side for the u.s. from a commercial, trade and import export perspective, pakistan is still the largest importer of afghan goods with 39%. india is way behind the catching up at 9%. china only at 6.1%. where exports from afghanistan commodity trade exports, which includes largely opium as well but others as well. wool., the official numbers that don't include opium chose india is at 43.4% and pakistan at 28%. regionally, the biggest trading partners are the next-door neighbors. the chinese have attempted to strike, for lack of better word, grand bargains on mineral extraction, gas, supplies, rail lines.
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trying to do a lot economically that will help the chinese commercial engine but not necessarily help the afghan commercial engine, especially since some of those deals were cut directly with regional governors and not the central governor. i think it is 70% of the real afghan economy is informal at this time. a lot of the trading partners and major players like china are extracting minerals and resources that are not going through any government revenue process or concessionary process but instead focused on enhancing the livelihoods of regional , power centers, etc.ia leaders, richard: on the regional dimension, i would add a couple of countries to the less we have been talking about. in addition to china and russia, i think india and pakistan are usually important and iran, not insignificant. etc. i think if we look on the
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political side of things, what we have seen is an increase in the hedging strategy by almost all of these regional players, except maybe india. russia and iran have been building their relationships with the taliban despite a lack of ideological and religious identity, especially on the part of iran. pakistan has never really abandoned the strategy with regard to afghanistan. i think what has changed quite a bit from the political standpoint over the past 16 years is china has become more engaged in the region and if there is one piece of popular news in all of this is that china and the u.s. largely share a common perception with regard to afghanistan and even to some
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extent with regard to pakistan. that is a concern about ungoverned spaces emerging in afghanistan and in pakistan from which attacks on the respective homelands can be made. turkestan,s east which has had a safe haven of sorts in the border area. i to focus on pakistan which is central to u.s. policy, what has as perhaps received as much and as it needs to write now is the question of what leverage the united states actually has over pakistan. there is a considerable emphasis on the assistance we have provided to afghanistan -- to pakistan over the last decade and a half.
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the most recent iteration was $7.5 billion and substantially more over the years. insecurity assistance. comparisons pales in to what china is putting into pakistan right now. the china-pakistan economic china isinitiative, 46licly committed to putting -- $47 billion into pakistan in directed investment and soft loans. perspectiveistani come is this greatly reduces the ,ependence on the united states on u.s. economic assistance in particular not necessarily on u.s. security assistance. the other point that does not receive a lot of attention and
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this is just a matter of looking at a map, afghanistan is a landlocked country. in central asia. if we hope to sustain a garrison period of time in afghanistan, we need to do it through land and air. unless our relations with iran would improve which i don't think is on the heart and even access is overt pakistan. there is a temptation and washington to overestimate our degree of leverage on pakistan not onamabad and frankly di because rawal pin of how we view our own substantial assistance programs.
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the reality is i think pakistan will pursue its own self defined national interest. we need to address this at a and i think the u.s. taking the initiative to launch a political initiative is really theway only way to address the ultimate question of regional hedging. i associate myself completely with my colleague's statements and ricks statements. hardll have to work very at establishing this dialogue with pakistan in a constructive way and having partners that are desk thatself -- the are pushing ourselves in the
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same direction like china if we can convince that this is in their long-term interests will get us to a good outcome. if you think of other copley square there have been groups that have helped facilitate that agreement. they can be very helpful in a few you don't have those groups and you leave the space, some not so friendly friends may go off on their own anyway and try to do things which could make it more complicated to get to a peaceful solution. of goodre is a lot economic things that can be done for afghanistan and pakistan if you can get those cross pakistan economic pipelines and transmission wise and other things agreed and working. the tradee reason with india being so low is that pakistan will not let anything across its landmass to get to india. indians would buy a lot more from afghanistan. that is why it is important to try to work on the india --
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pakistan rivalry at the same time. it will just be hard to do that. it is important but hard to do. all of this leads to the conclusion, my conclusion, that we need an active regional -- withinh the mind mind, how do we incentivize a path to a negotiated solution using those other actors that can be useful? none of them -- i think pakistan is the greatest influence on the taliban but together, there can be a mass there that can make a positive difference if they are organized in a way that helps bring a positive impact. one of the questions is iran and how we get engaged and what will they do to mess things up if they don't like what's going on. we need to think that through. i still remember back to the
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first donor conferences we had andhe fall of 2001 beginning of 2002 on afghanistan. iran was there and he actually wanted to play a constructive role. reasons, theyl were not friendly with the tell about and they were happy to see this change. and theyhe taliban were happy to see this change. there are strategic areas where we might be able to find some common ground if we can actually talk to them and bring them into a process in some constructive way. i will end there. >> thank you very much. minutes forabout 25 q&a from the public. questionake about 2-3 at a time answer those and then go to the night round.
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there are microphones -- lady and theo the gentleman then please identify yourself and your affiliation. let's take these 2 -- hi, i am half bataan and punjabi another ethnic groups so i am very interested in the future of pakistan and afghanistan and india. according to my father, we were possibly converts from hinduism to islam. it's a very complex ethnic background. i would like ambassador wayne and perhaps even ambassador olson to explain whom you consider the tell about -- the taliban. i think this question has been
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so convoluted and responsible for the chaos that has ensued or should i say the drawbacks to the strategy is a result of this confusion of the taliban and the refugees that went over into pakistan after -- during the soviet invasion. by make counselor in the afghan embassy. who are the taliban? they have never renounced al qaeda. withare working together the etim. they are working with other terrorist organizations.
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the insistence has been from some sides that a political settlement should involve the taliban but we don't know. should we approach a settlement that departsban from the terrorist organizations that is killing the afghan people? when it comes to pakistan, we have always been open to dialogue with them but that dialogue never happens because we get the policies and action does not plate -- take place. i think the united states should draw the line with pakistan. with us or against us is the question. getting awaynue with public statements that they denounced terrorism and promise
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againstl help action the terrorist networks and at the end of the day, nothing is tos, the only way focus more also on the military side of the issue embedded with the political and diplomatic and you mentioned that some modalities can be pursued. ambassador olson, i would love to hear and i commission on those. you said some modalities for this political settlement. >> we will let ambassador olson go first because he directly worked on this for a couple of years. ok, who are the taliban?
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about -- theell telegram are a relatively coherent organization. are a relatively coherent organization. we can identify who is leaders are and we can identify the fact that it has several governing bodies. the taliban and political commission has the responsibility for dealing with foreigners and ultimately, presumably for negotiating with foreigners, does have an doha,mal presence in qatar.
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to jump to my colleagues question about modality, i would say that the first step in a modality, that is to say the first step in getting a peace process going, would be to revive what was attempted to be done in 2013 which is to open formally that tell about office for the purpose of discussing peace with the afghan government in a publicly recognized way. that is the first step. the second step is to bring in the regional players who are so significant. i think we have identified all of them. there are a lot of challenges there because bringing in -- there is a great difficulty which conceptually, i don't know how to reconcile between bringing india and pakistan room on in the same afghanistan but it seems that
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should be what one should be pursuing as a way forward. i fully agree with you that the , atban has not renounced least not definitively, has not renounced any ties with al qaeda or indeed with international terrorist organizations more largely. there are hints and various butements that were put out there has not been a formal break. it's well-established. afghan position is that as an and condition, the taliban will have to renounced terrorism and break with al qaeda and stop violence. and respect the afghan constitution. it's important to note that those are end conditions and under the obama administration, that was the policy of the united states, to have those as
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end conditions but it's unrealistic to expect that what are perceived by the tell a bad are unlikely to be made at the outset. i think they will come at the end of a process. taliban,he principle at least for the united states is the withdrawal of foreign forces. it's equally unrealistic to expect the united states to concede that early in the process. there is a space there for diplomatic negotiation and for discussion. i think the only way we will be able to actually find out whether a deal is possible is if we get into that negotiating space and talk about these core issues. --just to add that's exactly right, there are different parts of the taliban and, there is no question, but
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they have unifying political bodies that come together to talk. they argue among themselves and have differences of opinion. there are differences between the local tell about who fight in a province and people living in pakistan. that's true but it's true in a lot of insurgencies around the often takes a long process to start engaging and defining what they really want, what the government really wants and finding common ground. you just need to engage and keep trying. there will be a lot of failed efforts in doing that but you try to create the conditions so that gradually, the perception or benefit of a political settlement become more positive. you can see this -- look along in columbia it took to get to a position of a political settlement. fightings of difficult from both parties and difficult negotiations and a lot of failed
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starts and even a good process they got turned off for a while. they got turned back on again and a referendum that, by the people, caused it to be revisited again. if you look at all these places, it is a hard process but you got to start stop certainly from the u.s. perspective, the groups u.s.attack specifically persons, civilians and others, are the least acceptable of those interlocutory is. s. that will be part of the discussion but that will be part of the initial discussion and hopefully you'll get to a common solution. i'm sure this the same from the point of view of the afghan government also. this will be tough but if we don't try this path, it is a solution find where there has been a sanctuary, an active sanctuary is really hard to find. just one point on the
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weerence of the taliban -- have done a deal with the tell about, whatever one things of it. the release of bowe bergdahl who which isby the hakanis the least acceptable element of the taliban. he was released in response to negotiations with political commission which is to say the representative. it suggests it is in fact a degree of coherence in the organization. questions fromto the left and to questions from the right. [laughter] i already did. the lady in blue and then the gentleman here in the front row. >> thanks very much. u.s. afghan women's council and thank you for this discussion that has not just
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focused on military but also focused on other aspects. one thing that has been absent from the august 21 policy is women's role in the self-reliance conflict resolution and security of afghanistan. as more than half the population is women, how can the new policy effectively incorporate the educational achievements that were talked about, the economic advancement and the leadership of women in afghanistan's future while still avoiding backsliding and violence against women, economic opportunities, and their participation in the ongoing peace process? thanks so much. i can take maybe the economic -- >> thank you very much, excellent discussion.
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since ambassador when mentioned: be a -- mentioned columbia -- i will be an optimist but one thing to think about getting ahead of my i timns evtu pgrme. evenolumbia tay, the actual deal is not that we signed a deal and it's done. two questions for ambassador olson -- maybe moving beyond the modality, i wonder, not to put you on the spot but maybe spule wt e oa tlesf eacod ok keetenhealanndhe gornntndn rmof itpast, woer y cldomntn e poan o tdeeten kianndhe.sf er
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