The Afghan Government Is Missing From Afghanistan's Peace Process

Government Executive | February 12, 2019

The Afghan Government Is Missing From Afghanistan's Peace Process
Can a peace process work if it excludes the government of the country in conflict? We may be finding out. At present, there are two distinct efforts underway to bring peace in Afghanistan: In one, Zalmay Khalilzad, the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, has held several discussions with Taliban leaders. In the other, a meeting in Moscow this month brought together influential Afghans, including former President Hamid Karzai, and Taliban leaders. Conspicuously missing from both? The Afghan government. The absence of President Ashraf Ghani’s democratically elected, internationally recognized administration in a process that could decide the future of his country raises questions about who is deciding what about Afghanistan’s fate; whether the United States’ policy of maintaining troops in Afghanistan until the conditions are right for withdrawal can outlive the wishes of President Donald Trump, who wants to pull out; and whether the Taliban can be trusted to keep any promises it makes.

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