WASHINGTON - Two eminent American scholars on Tuesday said the negotiations between President Hamid Karzai and elements of the insurgency were not enough to bring peace in Afghanistan, calling for the involvement of other countries for a permanent resolution to the conflict.
"Our judgment is that negotiations between Karzai and elements of the insurgency, or even a broader negotiation among all factions in Afghanistan, including Karzai's legal opposition and the several elements of the current insurgency, would not be enough to stabilize the country for any significant period of time," said James Dobbins, from the RAND Corporation, at an event organized by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
He said process should be supported by a broader process that involves other countries who continue to play the great game that it's likely to have an enduring result
Dubbins along with James Shinn recently co-authored of a book on Afghanistan. "We analyzed the problems of Afghanistan as somewhat distinguished from some of the other failed and failing states we've had to deal with," he said.
"Afghanistan is a weak state pulled apart by its neighbors rather than a strong state divided by strong antipathies among its constituent elements. This means that Afghanistan historically has been at peace when its neighbors want it to be at peace, and it's in conflict when one or more of its neighbors sees some advantage to it being in conflict," Dobbins said.
"Now, any number of countries have successfully overthrown regimes in Kabul. That would include Russia, or the Soviet Union, the United States, Pakistan, Iran, India. All of them have had success in this in the past," he said.
"Unless all of those states are included in some kind of broader process, not necessarily formally in the negotiating room as the sides negotiate, but close enough in proximity and more or less in agreement as to outcomes, we're not very optimistic that a process can succeed," Dobbins said.
As such, Dobbins recommend that the US should seek the appointment of a neutral, prestigious international facilitator in this regard.
"We argue that the United States, as the main protagonist in this war and in the negotiation, can't at the same be a mediator and a facilitator, that the roles are incompatible and that we need somebody we can trust but who's independent and has the trust of all their parties, in order to get everybody in the same room, in order to agree on who's participating, what the agenda is, where to negotiate those kinds of things, and then to lead the negotiations to some kind of conclusion," he said.
"I think the administration will eventually come to that judgment, but they haven't as yet," Dobbins said.