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Uppsala seminar on the political future of Afghanistan post-2014
September 26, 2012 - 15:15-16:45
The Forum for South Asia Studies at Uppsala University invites to an open lecture by Assistant Professor Anna K. Jarstad, Coordinator for the Conflict and Democracy Program in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University. on Wednesday 26 September 2012.
She will talk about ”Paving the Way for Taliban Rule, Civil War or a New Start for Afghanistan?”, focusing on the probable consequences of different forms of governance that could emerge in Afghanistan post-2014? This lecture analyzes the impact of international strategies for a political settlement with the different local Afghan parties. It discusses who are seen as future political powerholders, and what the prospect for peacebuilding in Afghanistan is.
Venue: Dept. of Peace and Conflict Research, Gamla Torget 3, 1:st floor, Uppsala.
Abstract: After a decade of international operations in Afghanistan it is clear than the Taliban cannot be defeated by military force. Instead, a strategy of winning the hearts and minds of the people in order to turn them from the Taliban is seen as a more fruitful way to limiting the recruitment of new Taliban and thereby seek to erode their power base from below. However, in anticipation of the 2014 full transition of security to the Afghan security sector, a sanctuary liable to harbor jihadist groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and al-Qaeda fighters, is emerging, especially in the border provinces of Pakistan. Everywhere former warlords are regrouping and mobilizing to prepare for a new power struggle should the Karzai government fall.
Consequently, as the exit of international troops is approaching, the efforts to negotiate a political settlement with the Taliban are intensifying. A common form of peace agreement, globally, is to guarantee potential spoilers political positions in a transitional government. The paper discusses the implication of the Taliban becoming part of such a power-sharing agreement. A difficult choice for internationals is whether to approach the moderates, or the hard-liners. While the Taliban that are believed to be more susceptible to international norms might be more accommodating of a power-sharing solution, the hard-line Taliban can have a higher potential to incorporate and discipline their power basis. However, the legitimacy of the different local leaders needs be analyzed in relation to the complexity of local dynamics. Who is seen as representing the Taliban in international talks thus has implications for the planned parliamentary and presidential elections, and any continued peacebuilding effort.