Chatham House Briefing on Engagement and Mediation after the Afghan Elections

While the international press is currently focussing on the audit of the Afghan presidential elections, Chatham House's latest "Afghanistan: Opportunity in Crisis" briefing looks one step ahead: it reviews the reconciliation process and shares recommendations how Western governments can encourage and support the reconciliation process.

In a nutshell

  • The priorities of political engagement and reconciliation have fallen out of favor during the past year since the failure to capitalize on the opening of the Taliban’s political office in Doha. The current Afghan government and its appointed body, the High Peace Council, continue to lack sufficient commitment, and no serious efforts are being made, argue the authors of the briefing.  
  • Given the impending draw-down of foreign troops from the country and the potential for new political realities that the election will bring, diplomats and politicians should renew their commitment to finding acceptable paths forward.
  • Reconciliation means engaging more than just the armed opposition. An important element is that the Afghan government is not united.
  • Talks between the Taliban and foreign governments are not the most important channels for dialogue, and continuing to prioritize them in US policy on political reconciliation in Afghanistan is shortsighted and outdated.
  • More thought needs to be given to bottom-up activities, instead of continuing to push the top-down process spearheaded by the United States.

To read the full briefing "Rebooting a Political Settlement - Engagement and Mediation after the Afghan Elections" , please click here.


Photo courtesy of isafmedia: The governor of Paktika province, Moheebullah Samim, addresses elders and tribesmen from the Terwa and Waza Khwah area at a peace shura March 12, 2011, at the Waza Khwah District Center.

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