Said T. Jawad: Ending Terror without Embracing Tyranny Reconciliation with Taliban
April 20, 2011
Author: Nura Sedique
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: The Future of Diplomacy Project
Listen to a recording of his remarks:
Ambassador Said Jawad returned to Harvard Kennedy School to provide a candid public address on April 7, 2011 for the Future of Diplomacy Project, in a talk titled as “Ending Terror without Embracing Tyranny Reconciliation with Taliban.”
“We enter 2011 with a mixed sense of urgency to plan the security and also to a certain degree of fatigue and patience to improve governance in Afghanistan,” he said.
He candidly addressed the challenges of ending terror with the challenges that lay ahead for Afghanistan more broadly.
Security remained a major issue. For the first time, he said, serious discussions and detailed plans are being strategized to transfer power from international control to Afghan leadership. This, he noted, requires leadership: “Security responsibilities for the Afghans will only succeed if there is a strategic vision for the end state and a unified view of the empowerment of Afghanistan,” he said.
“There is a need to plan beyond 2014 and focus not only on the transition and reconciliation but also to come up with a unified vision for the future of Afghanistan beyond 2014,” he said. Jawad believes that neighboring states will adjust their views if they recognize US involvement is long term. Until that clear vision was mapped, a true reconciliation and transition process would face sever difficulties of on-ground implementation.
A true transition process would have to include more functional means of combating corruption, he said. “If you talk to the Afghan people and international partners, they see corruption as a major impediment to improving Afghanistan.”
In the midst of the challenges that marked the relationship with international forces deployed on the ground, the domestic politics of Afghanistan were becoming more polarized and fractured and ethnic tensions were increasingly obvious.
Both Afghans and the international community had accepted the need to craft a reconciliation process. “However, [do] the people of Afghanistan support the reconciliation because they miss the Taliban or because they are afraid of the alternatives?,” he cautioned.
He emphasized that a lot more work was needed to develop a national consensus around the reconciliation process. “There is a lot of concern over how basic rights will be ensured through such talks, particularly for Afghan women and minorities,” he noted.
“If parameters are not set forth clearly [by the international community], Afghans will think that reconciliation is a way of shedding responsibility by the international community and leaving military efforts earlier and leaving the Taliban as a responsibility of the Afghan people,” he said.
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