World View: Afghan Peace Talks Collapse Day After They're Announced

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Afghan peace talks collapse day after they're announced
  • Prisoner exchange driving the Afghan 'peace talks'
  • IKEA tests a new refugee shelter to replace the tent

Afghan peace talks collapse day after they're announced

Hamid Karzai on Tuesday(AP)
Hamid Karzai on Tuesday(AP)

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Wednesday threatened to boycott the peace talks with the Taliban that the United States announced just one day earlier. (See "19-Jun-13 World View -- Taliban prepare for return of 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan'")

Karzai is complaining that the United States betrayed him, by allowing the Taliban to open an office in Doha, Qatar, and talk about the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," which was the name of the country when the Taliban ruled it prior to 9/11/01. The Taliban press conference portrayed the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan, leaving Karzai's government out in the cold. So Karzai said that the peace talks had to be "Afghan-led," presumably referring to his own government:

"The latest developments show that foreign hands are behind the Taliban’s Qatar office and, unless they are purely Afghan-led, the High Peace Council will not participate in talks. The opening of Taliban office in Qatar, the way it was opened and messages it contained, contradicts the guarantees given by the US to Afghanistan."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rushed to talk to Karzai, to try to convince him to change his mind. At the end of the day, Wednesday, nothing had been resolved.

As I've written dozens of times in the last few years, there is no chance of a "peace process" in Afghanistan. The easiest way to see that is a comparison with Iraq, where President George Bush's "surge" was a factor in the successful peace treaty that allowed the U.S. to withdraw. Iraq's last generational crisis war was the Iran/Iraq war, climaxing in 1988 -- an EXTERNAL war, where the Iraqis, Sunnis and Shias alike, united to fight the Iranians. But Afghanistan's last crisis war was the genocidal civil war of 1992-96 -- an INTERNAL war, pitting the Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan against the the Northern Alliance, an alliance of Tajiks and Hazaras in northern Afghanistan. Furthermore, the Taliban are Sunni Islamist Pashtuns, occupy a large region in Afghanistan, through the tribal area, and deep into northwestern Pakistan, which is in a generational Crisis era. These are major differences that make an Afghanistan peace process impossible, and the whole attempt to negotiate peace with the Taliban a farce. AFP

Prisoner exchange driving the Afghan 'peace talks'

Since the peace process negotiation with the Taliban is a farce, and most people involved know it, one may wonder what's motivating the people on both sides. According to several analysts I've heard, the answer is that both the U.S. and the Taliban want a prisoner exchange. The U.S. would like to get back Bowe Bergdahl, the last remaining prisoner of war. The Taliban would like to get a number of Taliban fighters currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. Time

IKEA tests a new refugee shelter to replace the tent

IKEA's Refugee Housing Unit
IKEA's Refugee Housing Unit

With about 3.5 million refugees worldwide living in tents, IKEA is about to test a new Refugee Housing Unit that will give refugees privacy, electricity, and protection from the weather that they've never had with tents. Each of the IKEA shelters is designed to house one family. The shelters employ technologies to keep the interior cool by day and warm at night; a solar panel on each provides electricity. In a joint project with the United Nations, the shelters will be tested in the next few months in Ethiopia, Iraq and Lebanon. CS Monitor


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