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Jaipur Literature Festival: Afghan a dispensable nation where interests of Taliban and US collide

Monday, 20 January 2014 - 2:34pm IST | Place: Jaipur | Agency: DNA

In 2014, Afghanistan faces a general election. Will Hamid Karzai step down and the international coalition leave. What does the future hold, and how will it impact India and Pakistan? Leading Afghan experts Barnett Rubin, Ben Anderson and Mark Mazzetti discuss the issue moderated by William Dalrymple in the session ‘Dispensable Nation: Afghanistan after the US withdrawal’.

The topic also covered the Afghan war, American foreign policies, CIA tactics and America’s role in world politics. During the session, Barnett Rubin, a political scientist and a leading expert on Afghanistan, mentioned that the changes in Afghanistan are irreversible and unsustainable.

The immediate threat to the country is instability and the promise of stability.  The penal agreed that Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai wants a sizable number of US troops to stay, the US is not interested in keeping its soldiers in an “electricity-less, water-less, inhospitable terrain,” spending billions of dollars.

One of the major reasons why the talks, that would end the problem, are yet to begin is that the parties disagree about what the conflict is all about and who will resolve it, maintained the panellists. Taliban believe the conflict is between them and the US. They want the Americans to release its men. They are apprehensive of the Americans sabotaging their dialogue with the Afghan government they don’t recognise in the first place. While Americans want the Taliban and Afghan govt to sit down and figure out the post-withdrawal dispensation.

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