Discussion

Can mediation between Karzai and the Taliban work?

The President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has asked the German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerville to act as a go between to persuade the Taliban back to the negotiating table. Michael Steiner, the German Ambassador to Afghanistan, and Westerville both believe that negotiations are possible and there is always the possibility of a successful outcome to negotiations. None the less the timing is not currently very good with the elections in November in the United States meaning the Taliban is likely to want to wait and see who the winner is and what their policy is before making a move.

Germany has attempted a mediation role between the Taliban and the Afghan government before. Back in 2010 Germany was the intermediary in an attempted rapprochement. Steiner initiated exploratory talks between Taliban representatives and the US government. Secret meetings took place near Munich with the aim of paving the way for full scale talks. There were numerous meetings and trust building measures such as the release of prisoners. Unfortunately Karzai feeling left out of the talks torpedoed any chance of agreement.

However with the US withdrawal drawing ever closer talks and some kind of power sharing deal may be the only way for Karzai to hold on to power when he does not have so much US backing. There are good reasons for both sides to want to talk; most particularly the decades of civil war that has blighted Afghanistan. However for exactly the same reason any kind of deal that would last over the long term will be very difficult for all sides to agree on.

Debatabase debate This House Believes NATO countries and the government of Afghanistan should negotiate a power-sharing deal with the Taliban. http://idebate.org/debatabase/debates/peace-security-human-rights/house-believes-nato-countries-and-government-afghanistan-should-negotiate-peace

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/afghan-president-karzai-asks-for-german-help-with-taliban-talks-a-845893.html

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