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This update is a summary of various news articles from open sources relating to US AFPAK policy and governance, economy, security and regional interests in Afghanistan and Western Pakistan.
Disclaimer: Articles are taken from established and diverse professional periodicals, news articles, and editorial commentaries from different countries, reflecting a range of political views/biases, that are intended to provide readers with a better understanding of various interests and perspectives regarding the situation in the region. News summaries may highlight only a portion of an article that is relevant to the readers and may not necessarily be the focus of the entire article or the headline. Opinions expressed in the articles, commentaries and features do not constitute endorsement by the Department of Defense, the US Navy, or the LDESP staff.
GOVERNANCE: DEMOCRACY & RULE OF LAW
Afghan Peace Talks Will Not Produce Stable Peace: ICG
The International Crisis Group has said in a new report that negotiations with Taliban will not bring stable peace in Afghanistan. Issuing a 51-page report titled Toward a Political Settlement in Afghanistan, the group said Kabul and Washington have failed to broker a peace deal with the Taliban, asking the United Nations to mediate in the process. “There are raising concerns over the political reconciliation process in Afghanistan,” said Candace Rondeaux, Crisis Group’s senior analyst. “Taliban have lost their access to Taliban and tensions escalated between US and the Afghan government and most importantly the shaky recon conciliation policy of the government has forced Taliban to suspend peace talks. “All these matters require a third impartial group to mediate the negotiations,” added Rondeaux. The Crisis Group has said that there is a strong speculation over a civil war as Afghanistan will face major challenges in 2013 and 2014 when the NATO troops withdraw from the country. “We didn’t expect a rapid withdrawal of the foreign troops as the Afghan Army is not capable enough to hold security,” the Group said. The report has said that with President Karzai’s term ending in 2014, efforts to extend this term will create serious crisis in the country. (TOLOnews)
US, Afghanistan in Final Discussions on Night-Time Operations
Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai has told VOA that Kabul and Washington are in “final discussions” on an agreement to end U.S. military night-time raids in Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai continually has called for an end to such operations, which he says result in civilian casualties and are an invasion of privacy. U.S. officials insist night raids are crucial in targeting the Taliban and other insurgent groups. Mosazai said he hopes the agreement would be signed “in the near future,” opening the way to finalizing the terms of a pact that would define the U.S. presence in Afghanistan once all foreign combat troops leave the country by 2014. The two countries are pushing to sign the long-term strategic partnership before or by the NATO summit to be held in Chicago, Illinois, in May. Mosazai was on a two-day visit to Washington with Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul, who held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the strategic deal. (…) Mosazai tells VOA the Afghan government is at the “confidence-building stage” for talks with the insurgent group. He said the Taliban needs to make a “clear statement” that they support the country’s political process, a peace process and final negotiations between Afghans for peace. The Taliban has repeatedly refused to negotiate with the Karzai government, calling it a “puppet regime.” Mosazai added that the government of Afghanistan has agreed to the potential transfer of consenting Guantanamo detainees to Qatar, but that it is now up the the U.S. government to decide how to move forward. (VOA News)