Afghan Peace Talks: A Primer

By James Shinn; James Dobbins | Go to book overview

Preface

In early 2010, when the authors began to participate in exploratory discussions, under the auspices of The Century Foundation, regarding the possibility of a negotiated peace in Afghanistan, the very concept of talking to the enemy was controversial in official circles and little discussed beyond them. The objective of a negotiated peace has since been firmly embraced by both the Afghan and American governments, supported by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and endorsed by most of Afghanistan’s neighbors. Taliban intermediaries have held talks on the subject with both Afghan and American officials. As this monograph makes clear, we are still some distance from full-scale negotiations, let alone a peace settlement, but the exploratory process has clearly passed from former officials and academic observers, such as ourselves, into more-authoritative hands.

This monograph is the product of the our personal experience in dealing with Afghanistan and other trouble spots and of conversations held over the past 18 months with many potential participants in any Afghan peace process, including senior Afghan officials, leading members of the Afghan parliamentary opposition and civil society, former and current Taliban figures, and representatives of the many governments likely to play a role in any such peace process, whether directly or behind the scenes. Our purpose is to provide a guide, for both officials and observers, to the conduct of such negotiations as they may evolve over the next several years.

This monograph is a product of the RAND Corporation’s continuing program of self-initiated independent research. Support for

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Afghan Peace Talks: A Primer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Summary ix
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Abbreviations xxi
  • Chapter One - Introduction 1
  • Chapter Two - Ambivalence, Convergence, and Negotiation 3
  • Chapter Three - The Actors 17
  • Chapter Four - From Discussion to Negotiation to Implementation 71
  • Chapter Five - The Terms of a Peace Accord 81
  • Chapter Six - Conclusions and Recommendations 99
  • References 103
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