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Bridging The Gap
Ex-ambassador: Don't leave Afghanistan without a deal built on national unification
  Thursday 11 April, 2019
Ex-ambassador: Don\'t leave Afghanistan without a deal built on national unification

When I led the U.S. team trying to bring peace to Afghanistan, we coined a term — “dirty reconciliation” — for the United States making a deal with the Taliban that protected our minimal security interests, while abandoning both the Afghan government and any attempt to preserve the gains made in Afghan society since 2001. The idea was purely a scenario to be avoided, not an actual strategy. But the possibility of such a deal now seems more likely.

In order to avoid a dirty deal, the United States needs to signal clearly that no separate peace with the Taliban will be possible and that the Taliban must negotiate with Kabul. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also needs to overcome his reluctance to appointing a negotiating team than includes representatives of all Afghans who stand to lose if the Taliban come back, not just government officials.

The U.S.-Taliban talks in Doha, Qatar, center around two issues: the withdrawal of foreign troops and counterterrorism. An understanding could easily be struck covering the two points — America agrees to a timetable for withdrawal in return for the Taliban breaking definitively with al-Qaeda and other transnational terrorist groups.

Many other issues need to be resolved, including the future role of the Taliban in the Afghan government, the rights of women and minorities, the Islamic nature of Afghanistan, whether the Afghan Constitution needs to be amended and the establishment of a cease-fire. President Ghani announced that negotiations with the Taliban can take place without preconditions, meaning any of these topics can be negotiated in an intra-Afghan dialogue.

Source: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=tribune+express

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