tv Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Diplomats Discuss Afghanistan CSPAN April 24, 2021 6:00am-7:00am EDT
>> former secretary of state madeleine albright joined scholars to review the situation in afghanistan. they talked about the biden administration decision to withdraw all troops by september 11, and discussed the role of women in the country, and peace talks with the taliban. to all s in the united states, good afternoon. good evening to afghanistan, thank you all for joining us thanks also to those watching on c-span. i'm president and ceo of the
atlantic council. it's an honor to open today's conversation jointly hosted by the atlantic council center and rockefeller brothers fund. afghanistan faces a stark reality of the united states prepares to withdraw its troops from the countries after two decades on the ground in the september 11, now postponed the conference, underscore the urgent need for robust sustained coordinated international action in afghanistan and before afghanistan and with the security political and humanitarian consequences of the withdrawal are interest has proven to be a leading voice of afghanistan for months, high-level experts, officials and scholars from the united states afghanistan and europe coming together to study
advanced solutions for the future of afghanistan part of the strategic dialogues and partnerships for the rockefellers fund. shared by secretary albright and chairperson, theory important, american woman european woman and afghan woman, dialogues sought to look beyond current moment and focus on long-term strategic outlook and ensure stability and afghanistan in line with afghan u.s. and european interest values, shared values. of europe, united states and afghanistan alike. today we launch a transatlantic charter and will discuss the need for transatlantic cooperation in the afghan space. i'd like to take a moment to think our colleagues, rockefellers fund for partnering on the strategic dialogues and
longtime advocate supporter of the afghan people and the afghanistan future. i want to give a special thanks nonresidents follows spearheading this incredible conversation that's culminated in the transatlantic charter that we will talk about today and the coming weeks. on our panel, we have cochairs in this dialogue, chairperson afghanistan rights commission, secretary albright, former secretary of state, united states and member of the atlantic council advisory board, former high representative for foreign affairs and security and the college bureau. my cochairs will go by, almost u.s. ambassador year israel and
the un and the atlantic council. the conversation will begin with panel discussion moderated by my friend colin, one of the best journalists i know of new york times followed by a q&a we may ask questions via chat function if you're joining us on social media. you can submit your questions by using # qc -- and with that, i'll pass the microphone over to president and ceo of rockefeller brothers. >> thank you very much for your terrific ownership in this very important effort. our to add things to our exceptional cochairs, wisdom and dedication and determination. i want to express my appreciation to the more than 25 distinguished participants in
the strategic dialogue who worked intensively together to define vision for peaceful and prosperous and sovereign afghanistan. i've had the honor to serve the facilitator of the dialogue working closely with our terrific coke directors have done a masterful job pulling this together. we launched these dialogues in september last year to convene diplomats military officers civil society readers from the u.s., europe and afghanistan to work together in developing long-term strategic outlook that could bring peace and security to afghanistan while also advancing shared afghan u.s. european interest and value and i want to note all the dialogue participants in the personal
capacity, this process and its design bringing together leaders from europe, u.s., feeding afghans to develop a vision and common set of principles, goals and recommendations. this allowed us to shift discussions away from short-term political considerations to the ways in which a bullet partnership approach and support advanced values long-term while the coalition forces september 11 certainly presents significant challenges, our dialogues have come full range of demotic security and financial ways that can be employed in partnership with the afghan people to advance integrated and durable security framework. it will not easy. the challenges are not
mitigate the security consequences of the military withdrawal. these align with our long-term vision and they include ongoing financial and technical support the afghan national defense and security forces and a redoubling of sustained high level regional diplomacy. utilizing all the leverage and influence to secure comprehensive cease-fire developing a long-term partnership approach for the new chapter of afghan history. with a specific focus on the extraordinary generation emerging of leaders. those that have the dedication vision and talent to build a sovereign and secure democratic and prosperous afghanistan the narrative about afghanistan today focuses on the profound challenges they are undeniable
businesses that generational change with afghanistan and with these young leaders in mind we issue the trans-atlantic charter. is now my pleasure to turn the program over to our moderator my friend roger : a foreign correspondent and columnist for "the new york times" thank you for being with us. >> thank you stephen and fred. greetings to everybody from paris. we meet add a delicate moment president biden has announced the withdrawal of coalition forces for a half months from now. there is a lot of concern to which stephen alluded the new swagger from the taliban and a great deal of worry and concern on the part of women
whose lives have improved so much over the past. journalist concerned, people who worked for the united states in this. thousands of people a lot of concern but also the hope about the future. fred, you are ready provided an introduction to all distinguished panelists. i will not do that again. 's we will begin with a question to secretary. in this change situation we now know a troop withdrawal is imminent, do you feel this dialogue and establishment of the trans-atlantic partnership is even more important? what do you see the essential way to help and the forever war to bring about the
inclusive democratic constitutional order that we hope for? >> i have been an average reader of yours for many years. i'm very honored to be a part of this discussion and learning a lot from my cochairs and all of the discussions. it has been absolutely vital exercise. i thank you stephen heinz for what he has done and always does to the atlantic council. but we have done is even more important because the whole document and our discussion was filled with hope for the people of afghanistan and the region and the world. we need to be more focused on all of that now. i do think the way the points
in the charter have been described, they really do provide a hope map in ways that allow us to look at what needs to be done. it really will require the main people of afghanistan that the trans-atlantic cooperation, which is essential and also the sense that the region has to be involved in a more active way and try to figure out what the diplomatic opportunities are. i think we will spend a lot of time discussing that. thank you very much i am delighted to be here and in many ways i think the charter now and coming out is given the kinds of things that need to happen to bring peace and a
life to the next generation in afghanistan and to make clear the women will continue to have a very large role. >> thank you. chairperson, if i may turn to you, secretary albright just mentioned that when in afghanistan. in assessing the impact of this charter and commitment, can you reflect on what you see as a particular challenge to maintain and further the advance of afghan women has achieved in recent years with the departure of coalition troops? >> i am honored to be a part of this conversation and with this important initiative we
want to be a part of the conversation and shaping that conversation going forward so while we are having the discussion over afghanistan it has given me a lot of hope to see how the us engage in the future and so in the public life and one of the main achievements of the past 20 years but we must acknowledge the backgrounds that women have been fighting for their rights for a very long time and over many generations. may have had many setbacks.
and to be basically band from the life as a whole and then there was another and that the huge sacrifices we have lost many women who were targeted of killings in 2004 and 2005 and i believe they will continue fighting through the years to use the telethon engagement and then to really mobilize and to have their voices heard. of course this is a difficult moment there is a lot of concern and anxiety. but i do believe in the resilience with our allies and at this moment the commitment
and that trans-atlantic commitment from afghanistan and it provides a message of hope that not everybody is just thinking of the worst but those who continue to build on what has been accomplished and to improve and expand opportunities because they are deeply affected by the conflict but then to utilize all of the leverage. >> thank you. director you have been engaged in different negotiations
notably with iran. as you look at afghanistan today a generational change you have mentioned is hopeful but on the other hand a weekend president described as increasingly isolated. a lot of concerns about the future of the afghan national defense security forces a taliban in the past had proved unwilling to compromise how do you assess the contribution that this strategic dialogue can make at this juncture? >> thank you and to be a part of this remarkable exercise
and to do something hopefully for the peace and security but all the others that have joined us in the sacrifice and when we started the purpose of the exercise was to try and go forward in a moment when changes were expected one way or another and partnership with afghanistan and in a different kind of scenario and the uncertainty and with the troops to open a window that's even bigger than what we expected but it is true the
more uncertain the path forward is, the more relevant the behavior of each of the players. so we have ideas on how to support the younger generation in afghanistan and from the neighboring countries and the region, europe, the united states it becomes even more relevant look at that collective possibility but also a shared responsibility as we were mentioning the killings to affect those courageous women and girls and young people who are trying to change afghanistan with their hopes and dreams and to affect
the empowerment they felt in those years and also those gains achieved when afghanistan. i know so many brave and courageous smart women and girls do want to shape the decision for their country but obviously those around the table but we also know the outcome that there is no certainty in any way that afghanistan will implode or have a bright future. so whatever we can do this month over the coming weeks and months at the negotiating table in the region and to
make a difference in the difference we make is not just diplomatic it is security with the life of every single afghan so it is our responsibilities to the new generation. >> thank you very much. you have extensive experience both as ambassador. how real pulling troops out is a risk? it is a risk. how real is the danger that afghanistan could relax into all out civil war and a
taliban how realistic is the idea of power-sharing when you are dealing with a group like that? can you please address those questions? that would be great. but it alludes to the need of days security presence. how do you envision that? to avert what i just described? >> to start with the end of your question, arranging for the ongoing security presence is a challenge now. the presence of the f one - - military force in afghanistan one is a insurance policy.
now we will be doing with a heightened risk as you noted. a strategic risk not just to the united states but our partners with this charter. we americans look at this as an american issue not just europeans but many coalition partners involved with this venture over the years and that exist because it was perceived there was a risk to security for all of us. that risk still exist. so as we withdraw the insurance policy, can we use all the tools in our toolbox to create a different type of policy geared towards providing security for afghanistan helping them provide security for their own people and more importantly
shaping the diplomatic political background required to get the taliban into an actual negotiation of peace and in the country. that would require a very determined political and diplomatic effort with our european partners and others aimed at mitigating the risks that have been created to create a new political process combined with ongoing security assistance to the afghans to keep focused on trying to get the taliban into genuine negotiation about peace in the country. >> thank you. >> secretary albright, in the next months, what concrete act would you like to see from the united states and its allies that conveys powerfully to all
the actors in afghanistan we are not abandoning it? >> i think first of all we are not abandoning it. it is clear there are going to be as the ambassador asked about using the tools in our toolbox. some of that is we will continue to be supportive of the afghan national security forces we have been training and really are in a position now to play an active role. we also are going to be providing aid. there has now than a determination there will be american assistance. 300million to build up some of the economic aspects of what needs to be done in afghanistan. and then also there will be
the offshore way to be very vigilant on the security issue and intelligence issue. we can talk more about those that there are some very specific aspects. one of the aspects of the whole program that we talked about in our discussion is the role of regional diplomacy and the power to play a role. i want to put this very starkly it is time for pakistan to take a positive role to try to show it can make a difference in terms of having a peaceful afghanistan. they have a very important role to play. the other countries in the region do also. but we need to make very clear that they have to play a more productive role that may have. and i also think as we talked about the transatlantic
cooperation, it's not just the united states alone, but our partners. and attention will continue to be paid. that is something that has to be stressed. the regional diplomacy i hope we can examine that a little bit more in the course of our discussions. >> secretary all great but having not been saying that with pakistan for 20 years? why would we expect them to behave with the passion and the taliban which largely to listen to us politely and then not do a lot? >> i have to say they have been a complex party to deal with all this time. [laughter] but i do think with more hope and more international pressure that they will be regarded with respect in the
region. i think that is something is very important. besides, hope is eternal. but i really do think as we look at the regional aspects and the understanding the countries in the region have a stake in a peaceful afghanistan, as i understood the pakistani position the turmoil in their region has made their life more complicated. they could be major players to stop the turmoil instead of contributing to it in a number of different ways. it is interesting frankly how much time we spent talking about the regional aspect of this. there have been positive signs in terms of the russian and chinese meeting that they held brought out positive points
that needed to be done and there needs to be a motivation of the region and the international community not just an afghan problem not just an american problem. it is really essential. but i appreciate what was said with 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 to see afghanistan as fertile terrain make trouble for the united states. >> if we do not present this is only an american problem. i find interesting the region in so many ways looking at the kinds of things that have been going on in central asia and generally in the pacific that this is something, it can't be
seen as just an american issue it isn't just an american issue and look at what needs to be done to counterterrorism that is now franchised that we need to deal with this in a broader international scope. >> chairperson i think it would be helpful if you have detailed knowledge to summarize quickly how afghanistan in your view has changed culturally and during this last. that american and other troops have been present in the
country that is a way of asking if the mission has been worthwhile. has it? >> so is not measurable. and you can see that if you live here and people of long time. what i can see even in my own community many of the women in positions of prominence and those are having an impact. it is a huge change in imagination and with the ethnic background and in that
area of the past if you see a woman with access to a whole lot of opportunity that when my father was in a village and with those officials because they believe if the boys stay in school they would get ideas that were helpful for them and they were invested to keep the children to help with the family and community and then from the same village from india and turkey. he has opportunity but after
issues and for wanting more and better life you see those in election and politics despite the fact of the 10 percent and more freely including france and india. this is the force of transformation that has happened is it enough. those are tackling with is not with the conflict but it is enough with that level of
engagement to transition to something better. >> thank you very much. looking at that last point, in your strategic assessment have these changes gone so far to transform the country three men manage the emirate under the taliban is impossible the country has moved out of the range of that possibility. is that what you believe. >> i don't want to be pessimistic and to make those
changes with today and tomorrow but we should be aware today it is much more difficult because of the changes the culture but i'm afraid and those relevant ones that the majority of the afghan people so they are allowed to have those institutional tools. and then to participate in the shaping of the country that word not happen and then to determine a bright future for their country and those in the
possibility you suggest such a model might even be transferred to that part of asia even if 150 russian troops. ambassador cunningham, give us a tough realistic assessment of the afghan national defense and security forces we have been giving 4 billion per year to this outfit. clearly they have done very important work but the onus will be on them. big time. how do you rate them? with hundreds of roadblocks being abandoned and the taliban swagger. they want. they outlast the enemy.
so how good are these forces and can they hold the line? >> most will hold the line if they get financial support it's important to remember the afghan security forces in the lead of combat operations in 2013. they have been doing all the fighting for years now with american and international support much of that is towards training and assistance you by the united states ever focuses on counterterrorism for the afghans in terms of their support so that is the dilemma now how we provide basic
support for the security forces as they do their job which they have been doing obviously it's a difficult proposition but they have been performing and holding in the field with commanders and special operation forces that are very capable all of that is in the next they can the afghan political elite perform is as much a political issue as a security issue may have that on them sometime going back four years to find a way to coalesce with an effective national political program with the prospect of negotiations ahead. and then created by the withdrawal the international security forces which by the way her partners wanted to
maintain they didn't want to see the americans withdraw because of the shared security interest. so this is all before us. >> should we listen to the europeans quick. >> in my view, yes. we listen to them before by the way in previous administrations when talking about the obama withdrawal of the end of 2014 the europeans came to us said we think that is too fast and too steep a curve and obama has course corrected. >> it is 20 years now it would be a good time to withdrawal. >> so what you need to do to maximize your chances of what
you need to do to secure afghanistan and stabilizing there is no deadline how do you manage the risk and manage prospects for success we amass and maximizes the prospect to say we want to negotiate peaceful and withdrawal forces. the president decided otherwise. now we need to course correct and that is where the concept of the transatlantic partnership of americans and europeans and afghans is crucial. that the end is a political question not a military question. >> i will turn to questions from the audience. if afghanistan returns to civil war how serious is the threat to the eu? posed by the irregular migration and international terrorism and drug
trafficking? maybe you can take that question and i will turn on the same question. if afghanistan doesn't go in the direction we all want, could that be a base for international terrorism the drug trafficking or immigration issues? >> no question. that is a possibility. maybe even a significant possibility. those of us working at this issue the past couple of years, think the process will be returned to civil war to go back to earlier discussion i don't think many afghans will accept the establishment of the islamic emirate if they try to impose that i think there will be conflict and
civil war. so that has its own consequences which is a space with the taliban with a commitment to combat terrorism certainly does not equate to that of the current afghan government see of the pace of on - - possibility of open spaces and europeans fleeing and then it will be a much more difficult and unstable situation for all of us in the region and on the outside. >> do you see a direct threat to europe or the eu if there was a negative development in afghanistan? >> yes. the european union and the region and the united states the disorganization of the region even further.
and to comment on the issue of the withdrawal, europeans have insisted on having withdrawals usually the ones that insist on keeping keep going from longer than the united states. europeans have always insisted on condition based that indeed these peace talks can be a leverage but this is now behind us but what happens in afghanistan. >> secretary albright here is another question from our audience. over the past year or two, one of the biggest outcomes has
been the legitimacy given to the taliban. it hasn't fulfilled their commitment and continues to be rewarded for bad behavior. over the past two years why should afghans be hopeful if the taliban commit more crimes us and international committee will one - - committee will stand by the afghan people? >> i do think the taliban has a choice to make at this time. they can be pragmatic or a permanent pariah. it appears to me they want certain things like including international recognition and legitimacy and lifting of un sanctions. the ability for the leaders to travel freely and none of this will happen if the taliban were deep in their already violent conflict to fulfill the obligations of whatever
peace settlement is reached. i do think obviously they have a key role to play and they can make the choice. but they have to recognize the fact they cannot go on like this either. i do think, and often asked if i'm an optimist or pessimist. i'm an optimist two worries a lot. i am worried that various parts of this will happen, but now i prefer to look at this as a way for us to change the dynamics as many have talked about, but we have to be prepared and it really does make a difference in the way the afghan government now begins to look at the political issues how to deal with the internal problems afghanistan has had in terms of the issues of corruption and drug trafficking and from the american perspective it
has to be in all of government approach. we need to look at the tools we have. i hope very much it will have the cooperation of the europeans in many different ways. we will not just adopt. the president has made a decision. we need to look at the help of this charter and the discussions we have had to go another direction to look at what the options are and push where we need to not just say we don't want anything more to do with it because that is not what has been said. it will be a different approach i am pleased the kinds of ideas that have come out of this exercise that has been very honest in terms of looking at what we need to do to make sure the various pieces stay intact and just to follow up what i have felt
strongly about with my colleagues, the women's role is absolutely key we cannot solve the problem on the backs of the women this is an intra- goal part in terms of making the same work. >> chairperson does the idea of the afghan share power make them laugh? >> i think it is one solution is that peace process. there has been too much bloodshed. and we realize we do have to find ways and then coming to this conclusion with the strongest the announcement now
the equivalent of a cease-fire and now they are asking for this. there is a huge desire for peace. >> a huge desire? like a clear majority of afghans want this in your view quick. >> i think it clear majority of afghans want a political process they do support talks on the traumatic memories they actually have despite that they want a political solution and that's an opportunity to engage in discussion in a way that is nonviolent so the
biggest cost has been born in the conflict. >> is this a moment of shifting priorities for the security of afghans? i'm not sure those are contradictory ames but these goals are not only compatible but in the past it has taken and precedence over domestic stability. what do you think about that quick. >> i agree. it isn't one or the other. they go together. actually most of the work of counterterrorism right now the last several years has been done by the afghans themselves with foreign assistance. including american assistance.
they are a partner encounter terrorism in afghan territory that's a very important asset to have it is an islamic state working with us to counter violent islamic terrorism. that is a very important phenomenon that is not well appreciated outside of the country and i don't think the premise of the question that somehow we were the afghan government has been slighting the people in favor of counterterrorism. i don't think that is correct. >> last question, what leverage is available to ringing the taliban to the negotiating table to ensure it is condition based? what leverage do we have our europe or us have? >> we do have the leverage so
this is the first leverage that we have and with that negotiation level and then the european union example to accompany that implementation of the process with the reintegration and support for the combatants is from many different countries postwar including civil war including europe that is the leverage the neighboring countries can have a week and have leverage but i see leverage both ways so the incentive to do no harm.
>> thank you very much. no doubt this strategic dialogue have contributed to and increased chances of the afghanistan of inclusive democratic constitutional government a longshot is that may remain is an extraordinary effort thank you to all panelist for joining me today. with that i will hand things back to fred. >> thank you so much. roger was a long team colleague of mine at the wall street journal. i first went to afghanistan 1985 when i took one of the trips behind the soviet lines with the mujahedin.
i really learned to love the afghan people and their heroism. the country has come so far but has so far yet to go. these are crucial months ahead perhaps not helped by september 11 but that depends on us in the trans-atlantic community and the afghan people and leadership and pakistan of course. i really want to thank everyone who came here today , the cochairs and ambassador cunningham. and our own team and the director of the south asia center and of course stephen heinz and the rockefeller brothers foundation who are tremendous partners with this ongoing work in afghanistan it can't and here we went to continue to be a leading voice to shape policies rounding
afghanistan because there is 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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