For nearly ten years, the U.S. and the international community have been engaged in the struggle to secure a stable peace in Afghanistan. While Afghans have seen many improvements over that decade, Taliban resurgences across the country have been seen. Despite the recent increase in fighting, neither side has been able to vanquish the other militarily. Moreover, a majority of Afghans seem anxious for the contending factions to achieve a negotiated end to the war. Can this growing sense of a military stalemate help usher in a political phase to conclude this conflict?
This report, the product of an international task force led by ambassadors Lakhdar Brahimi and Thomas R. Pickering, recommends a political path toward ending the war. Peace is possible in Afghanistan, the task force members assert, if Afghans and the various international stakeholders can overcome their deep divisions and commence the serious negotiations that will be required to achieve it.
The report outlines the issues that would need to be addressed in the peace settlement, including: the division of power, the political order, the role of Islam, human rights, economic development, suppression of terrorist networks and narcotics, the role of foreign forces, and so on. It also presents concrete steps for moving into a political process that could achieve a negotiated settlement to the war. The task force argues that the time to start that political process is now.