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tv   Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Diplomats Discuss...  CSPAN  April 28, 2021 7:01pm-8:01pm EDT

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former secretary of state, madeleine albright joins diplomats and foreign policy scholars to review the situation in afghanistan. they talk about the biden administration's decision to withdraw all troops by september 11th of this year. they also explore the role of women in the country. regional security challenges and peace talks with the
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taliban. >> good morning to haul our watchers, listeners in the united states, good afternoon to europe, good evening to afghanistan. thank you all for joining us and thank you all so to all watching on c-span. my name is fred kemp, i'm president and ceo of the atlantic council. it's an honor to open today's conversation jointly hosted by the atlantic council south asia center and the rockefeller brothers fund. afghanistan faces a stark reality as the united states prepares to withdraw its troops from the country after two decades on the ground and the looming september 11th deadline that now postponed istanbul conference underscore the urgent need for robust, sustained and coordinated international action in of ghana stan and four of ghana's than to compensate for the security, political and
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humanitarian consequences of the withdrawal. our south asian centers have proven itself to be a leading ways on afghanistan for months, high-level experts, officials and scholars from the united states, afghanistan and europe have been coming together to study and advanced solutions for the future of afghanistan as part of the strategic dialogues and partnership with the rockefeller brothers fund. shared by secretary madeleine hard bright, and chairperson -- very important american women, european women and then afghan woman, the dialog sought to look beyond the current moment and focus on long term strategic outlook to ensure stability in of ghana's in line with of can, u.s. and european interests and values, shared values of europe, the united states and afghanistan alike.
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today we launch a transatlantic charter and we will discuss the need for deepened transatlantic cooperation in the afghan space. i'd like to take a moment to thank our colleagues at rockefeller brothers fund for partnering on the strategic dialogues and especially steven hines, who has been a long time advocate supporter of the afghan people and the afghan future. i also want to give a special thanks to nonresident senior fellows, -- for spearheading this incredible conversation that has not culminated in the tries atlantic charter that we will be talking about today with a follow on report in the coming weeks. on our panel today, we have our three co-chairs of the strategic dialogues. -- chairperson afghanistan and advice commission, secretary madeleine albright, former secretary of state, united
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states and member of the atlantic -- director, former eu high representative foreign affairs and security and director for the college of europe. our coaches will be joined by ambassador james cunningham, former ambassador to afghanistan, israel and the yemen. and nonresident -- the conversation will begin with a panel discussion moderated by my friend, one of the best journalists i know of the new york times own will be followed by an audience q&a where you may ask your questions in the chat function if you are joining us on zoom. you can also submit your countries questions by using hashtag ac front page. and with that, all passed mike over to steve in highlands, president and ceo of rockefeller brothers fund. >> well thank you very much, afraid, and the atlantic council for your driven
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terrific -- partnership in this very important effort. i want to add my thanks to our three exceptional co-chairs who have brought wisdom, dedication and determination to our work. and i want to also express my appreciation to the more than 25 distinguished participants into strategic dialogues who worked intensively together to define a shared vision for a peaceful prosperous and sovereign afghanistan. i've had the honor to serve as facilitator of the dialogues, working closely with our absolutely terrific co-directors. who have done a masterful job of putting all this together, as fred has said. we launched these dialogues in september of last year to convene diplomats, military officers, panelists and civil society leaders from the u.s., europe and afghanistan to work together in developing a long
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term strategic outlook that could bring juror pro peace and security to afghanistan while also, as fred has said, advancing shared afghan, u.s. and european interests and values. and i want to note that all of the dialog participants served in their personal capacities, this process has been distinctive and its design, bringing together leaders from europe to u.s. with meeting afghans to develop a shared vision and a common set of principles, goals and recommendations. this approach allowed us to shift discussions away from short term political considerations to the ways in which a fuller partnership approach can support and advance a shared interest and values in the long term. while the and announced withdrawal of all coalition forces before september 11th certainly presents significant challenges, our dialogues have
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focused on the full range of diplomatic security and financial numbers that can be employed and partnership with the afghan people to advance and integrated durable framework. it will certainly not be easy, but the challenges are not insurmountable if the transatlantic community redefines its partnership with afghanistan, and commits to use the full ray of nonmilitary tools that remain available. so, today we are releasing the tribes transatlantic charter on afghan sovereignty, security and development. we have used this charter to sell fourth of the vision for afghanistan's future to articulate principles and goals and to present a set of commitments we call on the transatlantic community to make, in partnership with the afghan people in the coming months and years. as fred said, a report of our
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deliberations will follow in the coming weeks. the introduction to the charter, written by our three co-chairs identifies a coordinated set of actions that are urgently needed to mitigate the likely political security consequences of the military withdrawal. these also align with our long term vision and they include ongoing financial and technical support for the afghan national defense and security forces. they'll be doubling a sustained, high-level regional diplomacy, utilizing all of our numbers of influence to secure -- and developing a long term partnership approach for this new chapter of afghan history. with a specific focus on the extraordinary generation of emerging african leaders, women and men who have division, dedication and talent to build
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the sovereign, secure democratic and prosperous afghanistan of the future. the dominant narrative about afghanistan today focuses on the very profound challenges the country faces. they are in deniable. but this narrative misses the generational change that is transforming afghanistan. and it is with these young leaders in mind that we issue this transatlantic charge. so it it is now my pleasure to pass it over to my moderator, my friend roger cohen, longtime correspondent and columnist for the new york times. and thanks for being with us. >> thank you very much, stephen. thank you for the greetings from everybody from a sunny, paris. we meet at a delicate moment, as has been mentioned. president biden has announced the withdrawal of coalition forces about four and a half months from now.
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there is a lot of concern to which stephen alluded, reports of a new swagger from the taliban, feels it's outlasted the enemy. a great deal of worry, concern on the part of women whose lives have improved so much over the past period. journalists are concerned, people who worked for the united states in this period, thousands of people, a lot of concern. but also a lot of hope about the future. fred, i think you've already provided an introduction to all of our distinguished panelists, so i will not do that again and if i may, i will begin with a question to you, secretary albright. so in this changed situation where we now know that withdrawal is imminent. do you feel that this dialog
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and the establishment of this partnership is even more important? and what do you see as the key ways, the essential ways in which you can help and the forever war and bring about the inclusive democratic constitutional order that we hope for? >> well, i thank you very much. roger, i've been an advocate readers of yours for many years and i am also very honored to have been a part of this discussion and learned an awful lot from my co-chairs but also from all the discussions. and so, i think it has been absolutely vital exercise and i think stephen hines for what he has done and always does and to the atlantic council. and so, i think that what we have done is even more important, as you already indicated, i think because the whole document and our
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discussion was filled with hope for a difference for the people who've dividends, and the region in the world. and i think that we need to be even more focused on all of that now. i do think that the way that the points that are in the charter have been described, they really do provide more than a roadmap, but i hope map i think in ways that allow us to look at what needs to be done, it really will require, and obviously the main people of afghanistan, but also the transatlantic cooperation, which is essential and also the sense that the region has to be involved in a more active way and really try to figure out with the diplomatic opportunities are and i think will spend a lot of time, hughes, me discussing that. so thank you very much. i am delighted to be here and
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delighted and in many ways, i think that the charter now and it's coming out when it has is actually felicitous, given the kinds of things that need to happen in order to bring peace and a life to the next generation in afghanistan and to make clear that the women will continue to have a very large role. >> thank you. chairperson, if i may turn to you know, secretary albright just mentioned the women of afghanistan and in assessing the impact of this charger, and of this commitment, i wonder if you could reflect on what you see has the particular challenge retaining it for the ring the advancements that afghan women have achieved in recent years with the departure now of coalition troops?
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>> thank you roger, and i'm fully honored and humbled to be speaking to all of you today. and to have been part of this very important initiative. i saw that in many ways, not least because we are treated as partners, not just as beneficiaries. we want part of the conversation in the room. and shaping that conversation and i'm going forward. so while we were having the discussions around this charter at a very uncertain time for afghanistan, gave me a lot of hope to see the solidarity, to see that thoughtfulness with which afghans, europeans and u.s. colors engaged for the future of afghans despite marry many narratives of gloom. regarding women's participation and public life and afghanistan, one of the main achievements of the past 20 years, although of
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course we must acknowledge, it is a historic background because afghan women have been flooded for a three move really low tone upper body generations. and they have had many setbacks. the worst of which was during the taliban occupation where afghan women were basically banned from the public life as a whole. in the past 20 years, there was another -- they really took it on, despite huge sacrifices, we have lost many women to claims, starting as early as 2004, 2005. but afghan women have kept fighting, have kept their resilience and i believe they will continue fighting. in the past two to three years, since the momentum around the peace talks and taliban of game trans, afghan women have mobilized more than to have their voices heard. by the world.
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of course, this is a difficult moment, there is a lot of concern there is a lot of anxiety but i do believe in the resilience of afghan women and this movement. and i think with the charges at this moment is maybe affirming a commitment of things done by colleagues for information of transatlantic commitment. my colleague for original engagement for future democratic, it provides that -- for the afghan movement that it's not everyone is thinking about just preventing the worse, but some of us actually planning to continue to build on what has been accomplished collectively and to improve and expand opportunities for all afghan women, including those who didn't benefit from the opportunities because they lived and are as deeply affected by the conflict. but the key to reaching that
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would be utilizing all our leverage for a cease-fire and for the ongoing peace talks. >> thank you. you've been engaged in many difficult negotiations, notably with iran. as you look at afghanistan today, with the generational change, as stephen mentioned, that is hopeful. but on the other hand, a weekend president who described as increasingly isolated, a lot of concerns about the future of the afghan national defense and security forces. a taliban that in the past, at least, has always proved pretty much unwilling to compromise. how do you assess the contribution that the strategic dialog can make at this critical junction?
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>> we've been taking, all i'll skip thank you and how grateful i am of having the chance to participate in this remarkable meeting. it's always a pleasure to be doing something, hopefully better for peace and security in the world but also that will affect all the others that have joined us in this intense meeting. and you know, when we started in september, the purpose of this exercise was indeed to try and shape some recommendations or way forward in a where some changes were expected to, and one where another, -- and we are not. in a different kind of scenario, but i would say the uncertainty is probably even more there,
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the withdrawal of troops opens a window of uncertainty that is probably bigger than the one we expected to be back in september of last year. but, it is true that in many negotiations, the more critical and more uncertain the path forward is, the more relevant the behavior of each player becomes. and so, actually, i want -- how to support women, girls, younger generations afghanistan from all different sites, from within afghanistan, from the neighboring countries, from the region, from international organizations, from europe, from the united states becomes today even more relevant. we have some collective responsibility that is first and foremost -- but it's also assured transatlantic responsibility to protect our lives because as we mentioned, we have the duty and
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interest to protect those courageous women and girls and young people that are trying to change. we look at their lives, we look at their hopes, look at their dreams also to prevent the empowerment that they have felt in those years. and also to protect the games that have been achieved in the past. and i know so many brave, courageous and smart brand brilliant women and girls, young people in afghanistan that do want to shape the future for this country. and definitely don't want to go back. so i think that today, we have obviously the difficulties that there are around this table, and potentially in the battlefield, and we also know about the outcome -- there is no certainty in any way. there is no certainty that afghanistan is going to implode
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and there's no certainty that is going to have a bright future. so, whatever we can do in these months to determine the outcome of this he's coming weeks and months on the ground at the negotiating table, in the region and in the international community can indeed make a difference. and the difference we make is not -- it's a security one and it's a very big difference for the lives of every single person. with the focus on the afghan revolution, which i think we mentioned today is crucial. our responsibility to support the hope of this new afghan generation. >> thank you very much. ambassador cunningham, you have extensive experience of the country as ambassador before that, how real -- clearly pulling troops out is a
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risk, it's a risk. how real is the danger that terrorism could become a such and that the afghanistan can relapse into all out civil war? you've observed the taliban of close, how realistic is the idea of power sharing when you're dealing with a group like that? if you could please address those questions, that would be great. and also, i did note in the charter that eludes to the need for quote, a security presence, close quote. how would you would buttigieg that security risk? >> to start with the end of
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your question. arranging for an ongoing security presence is going to be a real challenge now. the presence of the international military forces and afghanistan was really in my view, an insurance policy. it's low cross than i think sustainable insurance policy and now we're going to be dealing with a heightened risk, as you noted, a strategic risk to the united states and not just to the united states but to our partners to, and that's part of the importance of this charter. we americans tend to look at this as an american issue, it's not. we have had not just europeans but many coalition partners involved in this venture over the years. and that coalition exists because it was perceived that there was a risk to security for all of us. and that risk is still exists. so the question now is going to be, as we withdraw the insurance policy, can we use as
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the administration's, that all the tools in our tool box to create a different kind of insurance policy. that's geared towards providing in security for afghanistan, helping the afghans provide security for themselves and their own people and more importantly, shaping the diplomatic political background that's required to get the taliban into an actual negotiation about peace in the question country. and that will require a very determined political and diplomatic effort with our european partners and others aimed at mitigating the new risks that have now been created and trying to create a new political process, combined with ongoing security assistance to the afghans that can keep focused on trying to get the taliban into it's a genuine negotiation about peace in the future of the country. >> thank you. secretary albright, and the
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next months, white concrete act would you like to see from the united states and its allies that convey's powerfully to all the actors in afghanistan that we are not abandoning it. >> well i think that first of all, we are not abandoning it, it is clear that there are going to be, as ambassador cunningham and you asked, and basically about using the tools in our tool box and some of it is that we will continue to be supportive of the afghan national defense and security forces that we have been training and that really are in a position now to play an active role. we also are going to be providing aid. their house now bennett termination that there would be
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american assistance, 300 million going in in terms of trying to build up some of the economic aspects of what's needs to be done in afghanistan. and then also, there will be an offshore way of being very vigilant on the security issue and the intelligence issues. and we can talk more about those, but there veer are some very specific aspects of that. i do think that one of the aspects of this pool program and things that we talked about and our discussions is the role of regional diplomacy and the regional powers really playing some kind of a role. and i want to put this a very starkly, it is time for pakistan to take a positive role and to try to show that a can make a difference in terms of having a peaceful afghanistan. they have a very important role
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to play, the other countries in the region do also, but i think that we need to make very clear that they have to play a more productive role than they have. and then i'll so do think that as we talked about the transatlantic cooperation, that it isn't just the united states alone, but our partners and that will be attention will continue to be paid and i think that that is something that has to be keeping stressed. but the regional diplomacy, i hope we can examine that a little bit more in the course of our discussions. >> secretary albright, have we not been saying that for 20 years? why would we expected them to behave differently, given that perception of the past two in taliban. which is largely i think going to listen to us politely, then do a whole another lot? >> well i have to say that they
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have been a complex party to deal with all this time, but i do think that with more hope and international pressure on them, and the possibility that they will in fact be regarded with respect in the region, i think it's something that is very important. and besides, you know, hope is eternal. but i really do think that as we look at the regional aspect of this, and understanding that the countries in the region have a stake in having a peaceful afghanistan, i mean, as i've understood the pakistani position, they have felt that the terminal has paid more life -- bottom line is they can be major players in stopping the turmoil instead of contributing to it in a number of different ways. nit was interesting frankly how much time we spent talking about the regional aspect of this and i think that there
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have been also positive signs in terms of some of the things that the russians and the chinese, the meeting that they held brought out some positive points that needed to be done and i think there needs to be a motivation of the region and international community that this is not just an afghan problem, not just an american problem, but that this really is something that is essential, but mostly, and i so appreciate what was said in terms of the importance to the afghan people for this to go forward in a way that is more positive. >> you think that china and russia could be helpful. it's easy to imagine president putin and president xi jinping seeing of ghana's tennis fertile terrain to make trouble for the united states. >> i think that if we do not
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present this as only quote an american problem. i find it very interesting the region in so many ways and looking at the kinds of things that have been going on in central asia and just generally in the pacific. that this is something that cannot be seen as just an american issue. because it is not just an american issue. we also look at the things that need to be done internationally in terms of countering terrorism, which in many ways is now being franchised due to other various parts of the world that we need to deal with this and a broader international scope. >> chairperson, i think it would be helpful for all of us with your detailed knowledge, if you could try to summarize quickly how afghanistan in your
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view has changed culturally, socially, really in every way during this last period that american another troops have been present in the country. that's a way of asking if the mission has been worthwhile. has it? >> thank you. i think a lot has been achieved that is not easily measurable, because there's a lot of social and cultural change. i think you can see that you have a sense [inaudible] people who have been observing it are people who have been living here for generations. when i can see, even if my own extended community among friends is that many of the women that i know that are in position of prominence, activists, people who are
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making change and having an impact come from families where their mothers could not even right. it's a big change in our generation. -- different social and ethnic backgrounds. we used to be seen as a privilege for groups who had been specifically -- [inaudible] in the past. having access to a whole lot of opportunities. you see the value of education. when my father was growing up in the village of north of ghana stan, people would bribe the school officials to close the school or prevent the school from opening because they believed that the women would get a lot of ideas that were not helpful for them. they were invested in keeping the children invested in farming and helping with the
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family and community. people are substituting the salaries of female teachers. from the same village there are places to study for india and turkey. the extent of social and cultural change, yes opportunities were made for change in communities but it could have been given to afghan schools after a lot of suffering. a lot of war, migration. we've come to the conclusion that in order to better the future, they have to invest and children, but they have to raise their daughters and sons with the ideas that they could be contributors to the society rather than soldiers for war. it's been unfortunate, but in the past 20 years we continue that conflict. it gives me hope is that while there is a continued conflict and that there is an overwhelming desire for stopping it, there is an
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overwhelming desire for progress and prosperity. yes peoples ambitions -- like in any country, even in the united states if you go to different parts of the country people have different social attitudes and beliefs about issues but there is a shared aspiration among especially women. for wanting more. for wanting better lives. that's an incredible social change. you see women participating in elections. speaking in politics. you see the freedom of expression and afghanistan despite the fact that we've had one of the most difficult years for journalists in terms of the numbers of journalists that we lost. we are one of the countries that has more free media. this is the sort of transformation that has happened. is it enough to prevent the worst on our own? i think that's a question that
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many have been grappling with and concerned about. the conflict is just more than an afghan conflict. as secretary albright and other colleagues spoke about, if we have some continued level of consecutive engagement and partnership to really fully transition to something better. thank you very much. -- looking at that last point, and you're assessment, your strategic assessment, have these social and cultural changes now gone so far in transforming the country that to imagine a return for islamic emirate, afghanistan under taliban is impossible? that it cannot happen? that the country has moved out of the range of that --
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is that you believe? >> i don't want to be pessimistic. i'm always optimistic, but i'm afraid change always goes both ways. we should be careful did not take negative changes for granted. we should not allow ourselves -- i think we should be aware that we are going backwards. because of changes in culture and society i'm afraid that negative changes backwards steps would still be possible. what i believe is that the majority of the afghan people would not want that to happen. so if they are, i think, allowed to be provided with institutional tools and side
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afghanistan to express their will and to participate in the shaping of the country those steps backwards will not happen. i trust the afghan people to determine a bright peep future for their country. also original powers and players, the regional players -- if you look at the board. the neighbors in particular, they have an interest and trying to move forward a powerful democracy, love law and human rights. as the charter points out, the rule of trump's -- we all hope will not happen. determining to make sure
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doesn't happen. there is now an intensified attention to homecoming. using the leverage that each of the players have a regional and international level to keep the taliban at the table and condition the talks in a way -- for democratic advancement to take shape. either recourse and the end of the day the neighboring countries and regional players have an interest. security wise. europeans not by experience. transitions from centuries -- to not only peace and economic prosperity and stability but also political integration. in the moment when we started
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to share -- it all started with coal and steel. it's not romantic, but when we started to share our interest so it was not convenient anymore for any of us to fight. it was much more beneficial to make business with them and to fight them. i think if we manage as a community, as the un to trigger the positive leverages for each of the players. those around the table in those not yet around the table, to try and contribute to serve their own self interests, which is energy interests [inaudible] i think then -- would be extremely limited if not irrelevant combined with
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the will that i believe is there of the afghan people to preserve the achievements that they have built in this. >> that is a nice hopeful european note. you if you suggest that such a model might even be transferred to that part of asia. maybe even if we do have 150,000 russian troops on the ukrainian border. let's hope that does not go any further. ambassador cunningham, how do you rate -- can you give us a tough realistic assessment of the afghan national defense and security forces? we've been getting i think four billion a year to this outfit. they've clearly done very important work, but the onus is going to be on them now. big time. how do you rate them? i've read several reports that
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there are hundreds of roadblocks being abandoned. this taliban swagger, they feel like they have one. how good are these forces? can they hold the line? >> i think most experts believe they could hold the line as long as they continue to receive financial support and other kinds of security assistance. it's important to remember that afghan security forces have been in the league of combat operations since 2013. they have been doing all the fighting for years now with american and international support. much of that international support is devoted towards training and assistance now towards operations within the field.
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even by the united states. our focus has been on counter-terrorism and some sir teaching support to the afghans in terms of air support and things like that. that is the dilemma now. it is going to be how to continue to provide some kind of basic support for security forces as they go about doing their job, which they have been doing. obviously it's a difficult proposition, but they have been performing. they've been holding in the field. they've had commandoes and special operations forces that are very very capable. all of that is in the mix. the real question i think is can the afghan political elite perform? it's as much a political issue as it is a security issue. this has been on them for some time going back for years to find a way to coalesce and develop an effective national
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political program and that is important with prospects of negotiations ahead. and with the uncertainty created by the withdrawal of the international security forces, which by the way, our partners wanted to maintain. that is our european coalition proposition. they did not want to withdraw or see the americans withdraw. because of those shared security interests i talked about earlier. bottom line is -- >> should we have listened to the europeans? >> in my view, yes. we've listened to the europeans before by the way. in previous administrations when preparations were being made for instance by president obama to withdraw forces by the end of 2014. it was the europeans who came to us and said we think that is too fast and too soon. too steep a curve. president obama, to his credit eventually course corrected. >> if there ever be a good
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moment to withdraw? it's been 20 years now. >> this is not actually the longest u.s. military deployment in american history. the question is what do you need to do to maximize your chances of succeeding in what you want to do? which is securing afghanistan statewide. there is no deadline on security, the question is, how do you manage the risk and how do you increase your prospects for success? now we're about to enter negotiations. i don't think it maximizes the prospects for success to say yes, we want to negotiate but we're going to withdraw our forces. the president decided otherwise. so now, we need to of course correct and that's where this concept of the transatlantic partnership, this partnership for america, europeans and afghans is really crucial because at the end of, this is a political question. it's not a military question. >> going to turn to a few questions from the audience. there is one that says, if if
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ghana stan returns to civil war, how serious is the threat to the eu and i'm going to add the united states and elsewhere proposed by the regular migration, international terrorism and drug trafficking. maybe it could, as you just spoke ambassador cunningham, maybe you can take that question and then i'll turn to the others on the same question. if afghanistan doesn't go in the direction that we all want credit again be a big day for the international terrorism, drug trafficking, migration issues,? >> he has, there's no question that that's a possibility, maybe even a significant possibility. those of us who have been looking at this precisely this issue over the past couple of years think that if there is,
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the process will be returned to civil war because to go back to your earlier discussion and question, i don't think many afghans will accept the establishment of the islamic emirate. they try to impose that, i think there will be conflict and there will be civil war. so that then brings its own consequences, one of which is loss of ungoverned space, including the taliban's commitment to battling terrorism certainly does not equate to other act of the current afghan government. so then we have possibility of open spaces, you have refugees fleeing which europeans have a very unpleasant experience with. and it will be a much more difficult and steel situation for all of us in the region and on the outside. >> thank you. just very quickly on the same question. do you see a really direct threat to europe, to the eu if there were negative
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developments, which you exclude afghanistan? >> absolutely, yes. for the european union, for the united states. in security terms, the stabilization -- further destabilize a shun of the region and if i can also comment on the a few of the withdrawal, europeans have insisted on having a withdrawal and you know, europeans are not so -- insisting to keep their military operation ongoing for the united states. we used to -- but europeans have always insisted on a condition based withdrawal. that indeed, in the moment when we start the peace talks, it can be a very powerful leverage. but, this is now behind us. but indeed, europe will feel that this, what happens in
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afghanistan has an impact on europe, definitely is. >> thank you. secretary albright, here is another question from our audience. as follows. over the past year or two, one of the biggest outcomes of the talks has been the legitimacy given to the taliban. the taliban have vent fulfill that commitment and continue to be rewarded for the bad behavior. given only the past two years, why should afghans be hopeful that if the taliban commit more programs, the u.s. and the international community will stand by the afghan's? >> let me say, i do think that the taliban have a choice to make at this time. they can in fact be pragmatic or they can be permanent pariahs. and it appears to me that they want certain things like including international legitimacy and international
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governmental assistance and lifting un sanctions, the ability for the leaders to travel freely and none of this is going to happen if the taliban were to deep in there already violent conflict or not fulfill the obligations of whatever peace adamant is reached. and i do think that they obviously have a key role to play here and they can make the choice. but, they are the ones that have to recognize the fact that they cannot go on like this either. i do think however, and i hate, i'm often asked if an optimist or pessimist, a mom optimist who worries what. so, i am worried that various parts of this, as my colleagues have been saying, will happen. but i prefer now to look at this as a way for us to change the dynamics in the ways that many of us have talked about. but we have to be prepared and it really does make a difference in terms of the ways that the afghan government now
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begins to look at the political issues, how to deal with the internal problems that afghanistan has had in terms of some of the issues to do with corruption and drug trafficking and a variety of different things. and from the american perspective, i think it has to be an all government approach that we need to look at the tools we have. and i hope very much that it will in fact have the cooperation at the europeans and that and i think we need to look at with the help of this charter to go in a direction but the options are and push where we need to and not just say, you know, we've had it we, don't anything more to do with it because that is not what has been said. it is going to be a different approach and i'm very pleased that the kinds of ideas that have come out of this every
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spring, thousands of people visit the washington, d.c., tidal basin to see the cherry blossoms. memorials to thomas jefferson, franklin d. roosevelt, and martin luther king jr. stand on its banks. the tidal basin started as an engineering project, but has also served as a swimming hole, a protest ground, and the scene of a polit exercise i think, that has been very honest in terms of looking at when we need to do to make sure that the various pieces of this stay intact. and i really do think, just a follow-up on something that i have felt strongly about, along with my colleagues, the women's role in this is absolutely key. we cannot solve the problem on the backs of the women. that this is an integral part in terms of making things work. >> chairperson, for afghans, it is the idea of the taliban have a show in power, just to make them laugh? >> i think -- support the peace process. the suffering of afghans, it has been too much suffering. it has been too much bad and we
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realize that we do have to try to find ways to reconcile their differences without. the question is, -- have they reach this conclusion? and the strongest public demands, four to three years now have been a cease-fire. religious collars are asking for this, -- which taliban claim to, you know, have more or asking for. this there is huge desire for this, the taliban shun -- >> when you see a huge desire, you mean like a clear majority of afghans? >> i think a clear majority of afghans want applicable process. want to try to solve this and there are talks about all the suffering, all the grievances, all the traumatic memories that they also have from the taliban
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period, despite that people want political solutions and conflict. that's an opportunity for taliban if they're willing to take it. to sit down and really generally engage in discussions for the differences in a way that's nonviolent. because the biggest cost has been borne by many afghans. and by civilians in this country. >> getting to the last question, so all direct this to ambassador cunningham. is this a moment for shifting priorities from counter-terrorism to the security of afghans, i'm not sure those contradictory names. but anyway, the schools are not always compatible and in the past, defeating terror has taken precedent since over domestic instability, would you think about that? >> i agree with you. it's not one or the other, they
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go together and as i said before, actually most of the work on counter-terrorism right now, has been done by the afghans with foreign assistance. including american assistance but they are a partner and counter-terrorism in all afghan territory. and that's a very important asset to have. this is an islamic state that's working with us to counter violent islamic terrorism. and that's a very important phenomenon, it's not well appreciated, i think outside of the country. i don't think the premise of the question is somehow we or the afghan government have been sliding security of the afghan people in favor of counter-terrorism. >> okay, last question. quickly to -- what leverage is available to
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bring the taliban to negotiating table and ensure the processes conditions face? would leverage do we have? it is u.s. have? does your? pat is anyone have? >> we do have leverage because to my knowledge, taliban are willing to two ballistics as a terrorist organization. this is the first level to have. like this it resolves at the negotiating table. that in and we can have positive -- the european union, for instance, can do a lot accompanying the implementation of the negotiation process. sorry reintegration, former combatants, something we've done in many different countries postwar, including post civil war or history concluded. and that is the leverage that numerous countries in the region can have and we can have leverage on those that have
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leverage. and i think that must be used. in positive terms under negative terms. i believe we leverage both ways. i also believe in incentives. so incentives to do no harm and incentives to do could. but i think first up would be not to -- >> thank you very much. i think there is no doubt that the strategic dialog and the charter how contributed to increased the chances of the afghanistan of inclusive democratic constitutional government. this is an extraordinary effort. and i'd like to thank all the panelists for joining me today. and with that, i will hand things back to fred camp. >> thank you so much, roger. roger was a longtime colleague of mine at the wall street
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journal. i first went to afghanistan in 1985, 1986 when i took one of the troops behind soviet alliance with the mujahideen. and i really learned to love the afghan people and heroism. the country has come so far, yet has so far yet to go. these are crucial months ahead, perhaps not helped by the nature of september 11th, but that really depends on us. it depends on the transatlantic community, depends on the countries in the region, plus it depends on the afghan people and pakistan, of course. i really want to thank everyone who came here today, want to thank the co-chairs and ambassador cunningham and i want to thank's america, our own team, the director -- and of course steven hines and
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the rock about rockefeller brothers foundation for their help in this ongoing work. i work in afghanistan does not end here, can't and here. we want to continue to be a leading voice and shapingse thes so much to be done not just for the good of the afghan people that for the region and the importance in the world keep an eye out for the report that will follow in the coming days. we invite you to the next atlantic council front page event taking place april 29. 3:00 p.m. eastern on the us strategy for the artificial intelligence era with the us national security commission. thank you so much for joining us in all of those involved. we will see you next time
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every spring thousands of people visit the washington dc tidal basin to see the cherry

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