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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  April 12, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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>> bob mcintyre will remember that fred harris ran for president in 1976 on the slogan take the rich off welfare. it is a good call to outrage to stoke up the crowd here. let's first get a round of applause to the panel. it has been an amazing time. [applause] >> then what i would like to do is have questions from the audience. if you were watching this at home and it is not some other day than today you can't meet in questions to this address at a adafund and i will be the medium for those questions but if you are here physically just raise your hand. john will call on you and don will bring you a mike and i have been waiting all day to say this. wait for the mike because we are on c-span. >> very good. we have a gentleman right here.
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you want to give him the mike? we have about a half hour left so we will ask folks to -- along and extensive tax policy. you might submit that for the record and goes straight to the questions. >> i am norman kurland, decenter of economic justice. the philosophy goes through a man named louis kelso who developed a concept -- a theory of economics. a plan for moving beyond the keynesian model and the marxist model he challenged both. neither of whom fought that individuals owning the means of production was an important goal. yet i see behind us the a.d. a education fund.
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two of the heroes, you had walter abruzzo who worked for some years ago and senator hubert humphrey, both of whom congratulated kelso and supported the ideas of democratizing the ownership. the problem i have is there is no discussion at all about the system and it assumes the tax system as a whole is a good system. tinker with it in terms of what we do and i think that is unfortunate and there is a plan that i would like to call to the attention -- >> i want you to tell people where they confine the plan on the web. give them a website. >> excellent. ce cesj.org. >> i appreciate your good
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insights here as the will go to bob mcintyre. should we just scrap the whole tax system? is the system itself the crisis or is this -- to we have a frame we should work in that week and working? >> we have to have a tax system. >> i'm not sure ron paul -- >> ron paul has not just repudiated the 20th century but the eighteenth century. you may recall that we put people on mount rushmore because they were tax heroes. george washington putting together the constitutional convention that gave us the federal government the power to tax. abraham lincoln who instituted the first income-tax. teddy roosevelt because of a petulant moment he ran for president as a third-party candidate, split the republican vote and got the sixteenth amendment adopted. the out liar was jefferson who was a bit of a coupon taxes but
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he did by louisiana. >> we have a framework -- >> a lot of people would like to go back to the nineteenth century and all our taxes the sales taxes. that is the scientology movement of the tax program called the fair tax. it must be an acronym for something. then you have the flat tax's like dick armey who want to exempt rich people from taxes and only tax the middle class. louis kelso was an interesting character. this program was to get around the company. people talked about doing that with tax programs. we have it now. it is called employee stock ownership plans which turned into tax shelter for the rich capitalist family. >> the problem is any loophole ends up as a tax shelter for the rich capitalists. >> that is what my mother who spent a lifetime as a tax
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preparer always said. every tax reform is a bunch of new loopholes. let's go to this gentleman in the back row. >> question about capital gains. spend a lot of discussion about ordinary rates of capital gains rates. conservatives will argue capital gains are not indexed for inflation. so two questions on that. and tax rates. and secondly how much of an impact would that be any way? does anyone have any idea what the dollar weighted average -- gains have exercised over a year. >> who wants to grab a capital gains? >> it has been talked about especially when inflation was high. it is low announce or doesn't matter. the problems are these.
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if you index gains and don't index the debt you have created a tax shelter. you will borrow money, deduct the interest and the gains will be indexed and you can make money by losing money because of the tax code. number 2, realizing capital gains is a voluntary thing. most people don't realize most of them. we have an exemption for something on the order of three quarters of capital gains. any break seems to be unnecessary. >> the coming point is it really is an optional tax when you realize -- a lot of people don't know if one owns a biased docket, ibm stock, and it goes to $100 and if you die without
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selling at a capital gain is completely forgiven. so you have wealthy people who make a tremendous amount of wealth and income over their lifetime and borrow against it and that money is never taxed. >> or give it to charity as many people do. >> if you are not going to have perfect fairness in the system we're getting money in interest or dividend there is a premium there to pay tax on that. i would want to maintain some separation. and raising 28%, you see special indexation for that. >> a quick word on putting dollar amounts. >> interesting debate about behavioral responses, if you did
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change the rate at which we tax capital income. there is a great congressional research service report. for getting the name of it. you should be able to find it. goes into great detail on the research that has been done on behavioral response and why the j.c. may be low balling their estimates of how much revenue. >> another question for us? could you stand up so we can see you? >> i would rather not but i guess i have to. >> taxes are progressive, federal for 250,000 is 28% on average and state and local is another six according to i t, so
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34% -- i know from the tax freedom day attacks foundations that the average taxation is 28% so the system -- cbo has stated that. i should add in five reports over ten years. the last thing is in direct costs for regulations, tax system issues like compliance and the excessive legal system costs which according to cost of government is 22% universal and those progressively occurred too because wealthier people are in the courts and it is 26 for that. had it to the 34, 60% of all the income average over 250 is in
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government related costs. >> it seems plausible. 28%. it doesn't really bother me. and being overcharged. >> people do it because they're trying to lower their taxes. [talking over each other] >> give her the loopholes. >> if you look at the tax system it is mildly progressive the way it is. if you look at combined taxes it is mildly progressive. income is not mildly progressive. it is skewed toward the wealthy. we have a class of people who can afford to pay more nevermind fairness. >> there is real confusion. you can see that. the statement about 28% was of the income over 250,000.
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we have some hard working job creator making 250,000 -- they're paying 20% of $1. not the whole sum. talking about the estate tax we realize a lot of people are worried that wherever we set the floor, whatever it might be that they will end up with $100. that is where the tax works. lot of confusion on that. >> somebody texting in to us. >> no one is more surprised than me but it actually worked. someone sent three questions. i will run the bayou and you can choose which one you want to ask. andrew, who knows and occupier and wants to know what occupier can do to shed more light on any angle of the tax justice questions that haven't gotten the attention it deserves. the next question is there any concern about a small revenue increase that the buffet will
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would generate. and you touch this earlier. , possible are their taxes went money runs the electoral system? >> let's take a few seconds. elspeth, you have talked to a lot of occupiers talking about coalitions to build people up. it strikes me that occupy wall street which is now much more than that. is a national movement that isn't in one place or has many manifestations. at the core of indiscretion about the inequality of wealth. is it beginning to get focused on how we might address that inequality or use tax policy? >> i would go back to what i was saying before in terms of the opportunity for all of us to seize the moment. focus less on occupy wall street in and of itself. the question this person asked, there is a way there needs to be
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-- we need to be mobilizing around this and talking about this for legislation. we all know that. there needs to be popular support. there is a way to continue the conversation and keep people mobilized a round that. >> it came up with the solutions. as a movement to raise these issues and keep them as bob suggested you might -- you want the president to get focused on these issues. >> talking about occupy and responding to that question a key role is keeping the conversation going and mobilizing people and talk about my own trajectory learning about taxes and five years ago in a different place. popular education that happened for occupied people getting turned on to the issue were thinking about a role of
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government differently or their wealth and how that is impacting people. people looking at what is happening in their communities and tying it to larger analysis. that is huge and that will allow my generation to have a different perspective on the work. >> occupy with warren buffett coming out saying stop coddling of the rich. those things together. pressure from the bottom and someone at the top says i should pay more taxes. that powerful combination makes it possible for obama in the middle to say we should have a buffet rule. the buffet will is i would say the camel's nose. down with republicans here this. is a tiny sliver of all the stuff we're talking about. we're talking about the bush tax cuts and capital gains and estate taxes and bigger issues than this one little sliver. it starts the conversation on a
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national level about should we be taxing the wealthy more. >> one thing elspeth mentioned that was important is where you live. we focus so much of this on tax policy, on washington and on congress at the federal level. a lot of tax policy plays out at the local and state level and can also be very unfair. we have a great discussion about the american legislative exchange council and the center on media and democracy has focused lot of attention on how this national group develops models, state policy on tax issues. is it important to keep your eye on the broad prize rather than think this is a deep sea debate? >> john is jewish. the gentleman is talking about the rest of the tax code. is true the federal tax code is somewhat progressive more than it used to be which is the point
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but state taxes are very regressive. they fall much harder. much harder on lowering income people. lower income people pay the heaviest share of sales tax off of there in, and much higher share than wealthy people do. state taxes it poor and moderate-income people harder than federal taxes. >> if i could jump in. one of the things i meant to say about financial transactions and financial speculation, stealing one from the international monetary fund. they did a good paper couple years ago. they didn't say that with the blessing to do but the financial sector, recommended financial activities tax which state governments could do. financial transaction that the state level are exempted from the sales tax. paying tax on your shoes or food or everything you go to the bank and that is not taxed. great thing to do. you could also attacks -- undiscovered by talking to a high-powered wall street
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attorney you could tax mortgage transfers. in pennsylvania or wisconsin, they could tech transfer of mortgage issues against property in that state whether traded in new york or switzerland. >> also might slow down the gaming. mr housing bubble. we have somebody back there with a question. could you stand up? >> i am meredith with the anti-poverty organization results. i wonder if you could talk a bit. part of the tax code always realized about tax fairness is tax credits come working families. and income tax credits and child tax credit. it does more than any other program for americans above the poverty line. wonder how you see that playing out with the year end battles
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and how to protect those small but important pieces of our progressive tax code especially for low-income families? >> you want to take a piece that? [talking over each other] >> bob is in many ways the great seer of the whole discussion. >> thank you for raising that. this is the huge year for the low-income tax credit. president obama made improvement to child tax credit and made it so low income people could get it. and $260,000 tax cut for people who make a million dollars. picture a woman with two kids who works in a nursing home. and $1,800. if the ryan budget is going to
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affect she would lose $1,500. fifteen hundred dollars and millions of families take a huge hit. the welfare reform stories people point to, very high stakes in this tax debate issue. >> let's take will for another text. twitter is even better. i use my authority as the ultimate moderator here. we have a woman up front. richard phillips wants to know how companies dodge taxes and who are the worst offenders? >> let bob off of that one. >> they dodge taxes by reporting less income than they make to the internal revenue service. they do that in a variety of ways.
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they move their profits to a tax haven and warm caribbean place. sometimes the congress passes a law saying they could report less than they make by taking a write-off for expenses they don't have. sometimes it gives them a credit against their taxes for research they don't do and things like that. that is how they pay less. the reason in this recent report we put out a while ago so many companies paid so little and sometimes nothing is because they had more loopholes than they could use. some of them pay taxes for ten years even though they reported tens of billions in profits and that is how they do it. >> do we need more auditors? >> we need fewer loopholes. we need a better congress. >> campaign finance reform? >> we just need a better -- >> especially one big one. people familiar with the private
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equity industry and the republican nominee. when something is taken over by private equity they tend to borrow large amounts of money against the company. that is all tax-deductible so typically accompany owned in private equities they less in taxes than the same company as a public company so that is why private companies pay less. that is important. >> two quick questions. we are winding down. somebody back there, thank you. >> brian roberts. taking this in a slightly different direction, one of the big expenditures is education. public education. one of the big inequities is property taxes are what fund schools. so i would like to hear
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different funding sources, different options for k-12 and also states that are strapped and higher education at the public level as well as those suffering the same way. >> thank you. i will have my microphone master scramble up this way and we are going to catch one last question up front here and take both of these into the crowd. -- a round of applause for the incredible work on the microphone here. there you go. >> stand up so people can see you. >> mr. lapham said there are wealthy individuals in favor of raising the estate tax. i wonder if there is consensus what they want the number to be if it is 55% or 1 million exemption or are they thinking of some other number? >> i will parcel these up as we finish. a few minutes. you have been a wonder as
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audience. great questions. our twitter fans, great questions there as well. we asked a few minutes ago about state and local taxes. property taxes by and large run at the state level. there are ways to talk about a federal policy debate that we can address education funding. should we and what should we do? what is the most equitable way to make sure schools are funded adequately. bob is smiling slightly. >> interesting question. sins states fund more of their education through taxes other than property taxes. they don't spend much on education. that is possibly advantage to the property taxes. people see it as going to their kids or their neighbors kids and they are willing to pay it. it is not the most progressive
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tax or the most regressive one either. this ownership people have over it with the schools seems to be a factor in increasing education spending. >> some move from wealthy districts to poor districts to some equalization. >> some state to get away with it. va does a lot of movement from wealthier areas to less wealthy areas and get away with hardly any complaints. i don't know how we do it. >> 7 states. >> only half of it. >> i understand. the mason-dixon line keeps moving south. the estate tax. where are you going with that. >> most people want to see the exemption about $1 million more than what they have. i found this to be true often. when we started this work in 2000 there was a repeal of the estate tax against both houses
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printing details of the repeal and didn't go through. george bush made it the engine of his tax proposal in 2001. we turned it into the caboose and kept it there with a lot of pressure and a lot of other groups. organizations signed that letter and right now as i said earlier we are working with the tim mcdermott legislation suggesting $1 million per couple. i think that is quite a lot of money. people along the coast and the east coast and big cities where property value get you $1 million pretty quickly, sometimes feel like that is too low. we don't need it to be $3 million per person or $7 million per couple and the other important thing is what is the rate.
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are we going to say 35% now or go back to a 45% rate and have it graduated above that and hopefully indexed to inflation which is one of the key thing is how we got in this mess in the first place. we have a gradual estate tax most people paid and as incomes and wealth went up that sure didn't change at all. and -- >> united for a fare economy. we are at the wrapup point. i want to go around the pedal and give people in last moment and it really is a moment. give us a bill or a proposal or ideas they think should be in the mix of our tax debate. elspeth? >> story instead? >> if it is quick.
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>> we lost 200 wealthy people signing on saying i am the 1%. [talking over each other] >> fabulous slogan. >> people who wrote signs and took pictures of themselves with a fine so it is almost 200 stories. one is -- i will read it. i made millions studying mortgages and bond and holding bankers have financial analysts. is unfair that i have retired after a career working with financial instruments while people who work as nurses, teachers and soldiers are worried about paying for the future, their health care and children's education. they are the backbone of the country that allowed me to succeed. i will link to pay more in taxes so everyone can look forward to a secure future like i do. i am the 1%. i stand with the 99% which is 100% as america. tax me. i want to say quickly -- [applause]
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>> this was started by young people. people all over the country have signed on. one more brief piece from a younger man. i made more than 90 after 12 years of hard work. now i am giving back but i can't do it on my own. i need government to help redistribute my wealth. i am the 1% and i sat with a 99%. the message of wanted to leave everybody is this is a moment, and people no more than the political moment and opportunities. people talking about a movement, it is a movement moment and people are waking up and listening to the message that occupy has popularized in a different way. there are people who will back this legislation moving forward. people back the things they're about to suggest. >> if people find what you are reading online? >> we stand with a 99%.org.
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resource generation is resourcegeneration.org. >> i would ask people in the audience and policymaker when they hear tax reform vicki two things in mind. first that the country has huge budget deficits and is going to be making some good wrenching choices and that is more about the revenue than the reform. second, if your top priority is not to lower the top rate of the highest income people in the country be wary of that. >> dean baker. >> what about not giving back? a want to talk about giving back in a different way. a lot of the reason we are sitting around here with 8.2% unemployment. millions of people facing a loss of their home and a large budget deficit is because those folks on wall street were building up a huge housing bubble that collapsed and there is an obligation to give back.
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raise a lot of money for us. >> we are not investing of the country in what we need to be investing in the future. if you are in the top 5% sign on to are a letter to congress, faireconomy.org/openletter covers topics we have been talking about. bush tax cut and capital gains. >> the ultimate entrepreneur real activist. >> you have to get rid of the preferential rates on capital gains dividends. the changes in income from capital gains have contributed to income inequality more so in the last 15 years. we have to get rates equalized on that. >> and bob mcintyre. >> if there's anything else he would like to know just google citizens for tax justice. i must have said something about
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whatever you are thinking. >> before i handed out, we had a terrific panel. we covered more turf today, more important turf battle sessions of congress. i will leave you with a quote from 111 years ago, people have been promised equal and just taxation for years and more repeated disappointment and delays in the fulfilment of those promises with great fortitude. their patience is not limitless. thank you for joining us. [applause] >> thank you for coming out and want to direct your attention to the back of the program. this is an event sponsored not by the education fund but by americans for democratic action. it is a rally happening on tax day. if you would like to express the idea that paying taxes is
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patriotic and real tax reform involves making sure everyone pays their fair share we invite you to join us. if you're watching at home go to stoptheled.org. thank you for coming out. visit a theaction.org. thank you for coming out and keep your eyes on the tax issue. is going to be a hot one. thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> labor secretary will talk about jobs and the economy in
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any event hosted by the national action network which was founded by rev. al sharpton. live coverage gets underway at 10:00 eastern. she is scheduled to speak at 11:00 eastern. later in the day the u.s. chamber of commerce hosts an aviation summit to discuss the future of the industry. we will hear from aviation leaders including the c e o of boeing's defense business and the ceo of dell airlines. live coverage on c-span2. state department official marc grossman said the u.s. will be involved in securing and developing afghanistan after the 2014 withdrawal. marc grossman is the administration representative to afghanistan and pakistan and was part of a discussion hosted by the u.s. institute of peace. this 90 minute event was moderated by former national
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security adviser steven hadley. >>-moose and i am vice chair of the board of directors. pleased to welcome you this morning. i would like to ask all of you to turn off yourself owns and your pagers because they interfere with our own a electronic systems including those that are streaming today's session live over the internet to many listeners in the audience. i have the honor to introduce today's session. my dubious claim to this particular honor was in that returned from a visit to afghanistan on behalf of the
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state department. going back to 2002 when the institute was asked for special expertise in the area of peace building to the task of promoting peace and stability in afghanistan. for the past two years the u.s. ip has focused attention is under development of a strategy for the country's political transition and transformation. one built around constitution development, credible elections and a durable and inclusive peace process. in 2008, usaid posted the jennings randolph resident fellow here. we regret he was not able to join us for this session but look forward to his participation in future
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sessions. is research helped inform the afghan peace and integration program which in turn have become the blueprint for u.s. ip's integration effort. as is evident to all concerned pakistan is a critical element in any calculation of prospects for peace in afghanistan which is why u.s. ip has a program there. some would question whether dick holbrooke's original vision of a strategic partnership between u.s. and pakistan was ever realistic and viable. there's a widespread agreement that whatever hopes there might have been for such a partnership have been shattered by 2011 the most significant was the raid almost a your go on osama bin laden's compound. just when one thought the
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u.s./pakistan relationship could get rougher we have the announcement by the u.s. government last week regarding mohammed sayid on the eve of a president by the militia visit by the president and the eve of the pakistan parliament fate of a long awaited report on the future of pakistan/u.s. relationship. if that were not enough we have the op-ed piece over the weekend by representative or barker vigorously defending the resolution he introduced in february calling for self-determination which seems certain to reignite the passionate reactions of pakistani officials. these developments and others inevitably arise serious questions about how to respond to those in this country who are increasingly calling for end to
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u.s. military engagement in afghanistan. how to ensure a credible political transition in afghanistan requiring credible presidential elections in 2014 and an inclusive peace process. with the the u.s. can succeed in its efforts to bring negotiations to pakistan's of work in the absence of pakistan -- afghanistan's the war and pakistan's rules of engagement and cooperation. in short, what are the prospects for peace in afghanistan? to provide answers to these questions we are privileged to have a very distinguished panel of experts. i will not read their biography since you have them but i will offer the following highlights. marc grossman has held just about every major post one can hold in the department of state.
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ambassador to turkey legal assistance secretary of state the european affairs, director-general of foreign service and undersecretary of state for political affairs. the highest position. since february of 2011 he served as special representative of the afghanistan/pakistan with all the challenges. it is important to note his diplomatic career was launched in pakistan as was his first posting. so it has come full circle in his career. nilofer sakhi has written extensively on political transformation in pakistan. she is founder and chair person of women's activities and social service association where she established the association center for peace building and conflict resolution. she served as country director read the open society foundation is afghanistan program where she also worked as a senior consultant on rule of law,
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transitional justice and human rights. ahmed rashid is pakistan's preeminent journalist and author and his writings are required reading for anyone seeking to understand the realities of afghanistan and pakistan. his publication switching through taliban, jihad and descent into chaos sold millions of copies. one published work pakistan on the brink, the future of america, pakistan and afghanistan is being described by reviewers as a must read for anyone seeking to understand where and how that grand design will rise. i will add that living as he does -- writing as he does with unrestrained honesty and candor also qualifies ahmed rashid as a man of considerable personal courage. left but not least we are privileged to have with the
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ambassador omar samad who is afghanistan's senior expert at the institute of peace. prior to joining u.s. ip he was afghanistan's ambassador to france and previously as afghanistan's ambassador to canada and prior to that spokesman in the afghan foreign ministry. a graduate of american university in the fletcher school he is widely known and respected for his determined efforts to promote the cause of freedom and democracy in afghanistan. given that extraordinarily qualified group of panelists we knew we needed someone with equally extraordinary credentials to serve as our moderator. we could not have found anyone better qualified than former assistant to the president for national security steven hadley. desktop adviser to president george w. bush for eight years steve left his mark on every foreign policy issue. the united states has
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confronted. he has continued to do so since leaving office through his whole involvement in a host of policy-setting groups and extensive travels including his own visit to pakistan last october. importantly for us at u.s. i p, he is a former member of the u.s. i p board and we continue to benefit from his support and his age advice. it is with great pleasure that i turn the microphone over to steve hadley. >> thank you very much. i want to thank the panelists for being with us this morning and thank all of you. we should have a very interesting hour-and-a-half. the most important question, i want to outline how we're going to try to proceed this morning. i am going to begin by asking each analyst what may look like a softball question but it is the framing questions though
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each of them can take three or four minutes in turn to sort of set out a general approach to the problem. what we will then do after the first round is i will then ask questions to the various panelists and try to see if i can broker a conversation between and among the panelists on various issues of the day and i suspect when all of that is done we will be basically an hour into this hour and a half which we have and we will then go to questions and answers from the audience. you should have received as you came in or once you got seated a card, to read your question on that cart. and we would ask that you pass those cards to the aisles and a u.s. i p will come down the aisle and collect them and they will be passed to me in the last 30 minutes. i will ask your questions to the
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members of the panel. we will try to end promptly at 12:00 noon and ask you then to depart the hall before the rest of us exit. that is what we will try to do this morning. we could not have a better panel here to debate this question about how to get to peace and stability in afghanistan and pakistan. so without further ado let me begin. ambassador marc grossman, i would like to begin with you. ambassador, talk about political strategy. if you talk about the press on afghanistan there's a lot of talk about security and security situation. it means security in 2014 but under the constitution,
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president karzai's term expires and there will be a presidential election and will that presidential election results in a president with authority and support throughout the country or could it be repeat of last couple elections which were a source of division? accompanying the security transition strategy could use a little word about the political transition strategy and how the administration sees on the political side getting where we are now in 2014 and beyond. >> let me add my thanks to all of you and all the people who organized this wonderful event. it is an honor to be on this panel. i will say a word of thanks to steve hadley. i have been special representative -- i appreciate it very much. question steve asked is to say we spend a very barge amount of
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time thinking about the security transition. security transition layout in 2010 or transition of geographies which has already taken place and more to come. the military activity, all these areas we have been working on. and a success at the end of 2014. i will talk about the other transitions. is important we not lose sight of the success at lisbon. i spent a couple weeks around europe supporting the afghan national security forces. staying focused on the lisbon transition. it is a very important part of explaining the story of how we are going to go forward in afghanistan to get to 2014 so
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security transition is important but steve is right. we ought to be spending more time thinking about the other transition in 2014. there are two transitions we ought to be considering. lisbon and the political transition called for by the constitution of afghanistan on election and changing leadership and important we get into the transformation decade which is an important conference and i say three things. there's a huge amount of work for afghans to get ready for 2014. this election, how they want to run their own country and what their life will be like in that transformational decade 2014-2020 for. fundamentally that is a question for afghans. we can talk about this and encourage and consider questions going forward in 2014. this is first and foremost an afghan question and i know they
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will focus on it successfully. second, there are two or three other pieces getting ready for that transition that are extremely important. one, i believe is a regional context in which the second transition will take place and i take you back to the important meeting in istanbul and the conference in bonn last december which started a framework for secure, stable, prosperous afghanistan and a prosperous region. the original component of this support for this transition in afghanistan is extremely important. let's not forget also economic aspects of this. steve and others have been helpful to me to say that going forward to 2014 and after 2014. got to be a regional economic vision about connecting central asian economies with afghanistan and pakistan and i believe that
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will play a very important role in the success of these two transitions in 2014 and finally as george said there's the question of peace and reconciliation. george talked-about the efforts, that we are trying to produce all so for one and one reason only which is to get afghans talking to other afghans about the future of afghanistan but the peace process. the question of this conference whether the process repeats, reconciliation and reintegration will play an important role whether we are successful in the transition to 2014. >> i would like to ask ambassador omar samad to pickup on that and particularly picking up on the political strategy. there has been a lot of discussion about out reach to the taliban as an element of a
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political strategy between now and 2014. unlike you to talk a little bit about the rest of the political transition. you have written in a recent article you had a quote that said much of afghanistan have little political opposition to women's rights groups and civil society not only feel marginalized but are also increasingly concerned about the result of misplaced reconciliation priority. that is a very serious statement and could you talk a little bit about what you mean by feeling marginalized and what should be the approach of the afghan authorities and the united states to address those issues? >> thank you for the easy question. good morning to everyone here. that is the agenda of being an
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ex diplomat. by what i have written and tried to reflect -- the political transition that is about to take place and how it will take place. they want to feel connected to a transition. you ought to feel inclusive and included in the process. nobody takes into account their aspirations. but also offers them sir resolutions and answers to questions in terms of what we're doing to the taliban leaders to which taliban. these questions are on the minds of many people not only in afghanistan but across the world especially the main contributors
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and stakeholders as to what exactly are we going to get out of reconciliation. we understand a political process is the way to end its complex and we hope that is the case for afghanistan. there are many questions -- it is a narrow reconciliation and one where we bargaining over certain gains that we had, that afghans had over the past decade. what will we give back and what we getting in return? if we are going to end up with the political sentiments which is the buzz word being used what does it mean? what is a political settlement mean in terms of incorporating a certain elements in the afghan voting structure is, giving away sir impositions, does it mean this will guarantee the end of
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conflict? actually sign on to it? there are many questions lingering in people's mind and that has caused a certain amount of uncertainty and tanangst wit the afghan population. we keep ignoring this body called the legislature or the parliament which is an elected body in afghanistan even if connection the not perfect. but we cannot ignore their views and their input. it is important as we move forward we keep in mind there are certain questions. we would like some transparency
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in this process. they're also worried about the context. their immediate problems originating not within afghanistan but in the region of context. ac lot of supporters in afghanistan. they are all spoilers and we need to deal with them in our own way but a -- outside afghanistan their difficult to handle. in the past 30 your the of history have shown we need to find better ways of handling this aspect coming from outside afghanistan. >> what of the things that may inform the conversation is in the work the u.s. institute of peace and the center for american progress have been doing we tried to distinguish between reconciliation which is
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thought of as an outreach to the taliban and a broader political sins which is making the afghan political structure more inclusive of the opposition, women's groups, the sense that many viewed the afghan government as narrow with a sense of entitlement to the grisly fair amount of corruption. we talk about reach to the taliban or reconciliation with the taliban and political settlement in terms of broadening and opening of the afghan political structure and you might have that distinction in mind. how do women in afghanistan -- you have been an advocate of women's rights in afghanistan. how do women in afghanistan see the outreach to the taliban and the broader prospect of political settlement? what is their perspective?
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>> thank you very much. it is timely for afghanistan to discuss these issues and peace prospects. there was a level of optimism especially in 2010. among society organization and the issue of tradition. especially on the issue of reconciliation. not because there was really they had good memories of the taliban regime but because people were tired of stability in the country and wanted to have a solution. working with different
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stakeholders particularly among groups, bad memories that they have from the taliban regime. with the passage of time and changes that happened in the last two years unfortunately that level of optimism doesn't exist anymore. there is lack of transparency and has been graywacke of transparency in the process. there has been lack of conclusive list in the process not only in women's groups but broadly from the private sectors and education and many other sectors. they were all part of this society and they shouldn't. international community had been
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at the table with all these passing the substance. so it seems that the women's group, broadly talking about civil society has been symbolic in the past. contains some sins talk. what women's groups -- they are concerned that the taliban has released a document. endeavour published anything in which -- the constitution of afghanistan. the last ten years of achievement or values of civil society particularly in support of the international community has been really focusing on. now there is a level of pessimism, there is no solution
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to the political settlement. there is more need for regional diplomacy. let's talk about their interests because their interests mammal -- matter to talk to the taliban. every country does not cooperate in the process and they discuss their interests and negotiate their interests. the solution doesn't rely on talking to the taliban. that is the pessimism but we hope it will fade away. >> you have both indicated some reservations about where the reconciliation and political settlement processes are now. i will come back in a moment or two and ask you to be prescriptive giving your reservations. how do we put this process back
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on track but before we do that i would like to turn this to ahmed rashid. you have underscored the importance of the regional players and the role they can have in terms of a stable peaceful afghanistan over the long term. there is no more important neighbor than pakistan and our objective is for a stable, peaceful afghanistan and also a stable, peaceful pakistan and those two are related. let me ask you about that and i am going to start basically, there's a lot of discussion about what does pakistan one for afghanistan? do they want the return of the taliban when officials were stable and calm? ..
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i think part of the vision that must emerge and hopefully will emerge in the chicago summit has to be the fact that the u.s. a, major aim has to be an end to the war before you leave. if american forces, nato forces are going to leave afghanistan in a state of civil war at its -- as it existed a that i think we are looking at -- at the end of day. we're looking at regional countries, look at the collapse of the internal political system
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at it as if all the last 10 years, et cetera, et cetera. i would really like to see a u.s. vision articulated that guarantees that our aim is to end the war before we leave. and i think that will carry the immense weight in the region amongst the protagonists in the war and in the international community. so we can talk about transition. we can talk about egypt individual i think there has to be an overarching policy. maybe we don't get there. that's another question. i think the aim has to be expressed. if you look at all the three major areas which at the u.s., its allies have to contend with, the international situation is in a crisis because a lot of because a lot of europeans want to pull out early, et cetera. will the europeans contribute to the long-term funding of the military, et cetera, and the afghan military? the recent situation also much
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worse when this administration started off with the tensions with iran, the tensions now developing with pakistan. and thirdly, clearly the domestic situation inside afghanistan with these recent incidents we've had, you know, is also very precarious. so i think in a enormous amount has to be done and we need a major diplomatic effort on all three fronts, domestic, international and regional in order to get this process going. now, as far as pakistan is concerned, i've always believed the military, which guides and runs foreign policy, has essentially always had a maximalist position on afghanistan, and a minimalist position. depending on its relations with the other players, its move from one to another. and right now given, it had for
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for a long time a very strong maximalist position. by maximalist position i mean no compromise with india on afghanistan, no presence of india on afghanistan, micromanagement of any kind of political deal between the taliban and karzai to be certainly southern and eastern afghanistan so pakistan doesn't say who takes up, et cetera. and a minimalist position which is geared more towards facilitation of talks of working with india and afghanistan, not rejecting it completely. now, i think at the moment given the crisis in pakistan and the crisis in relationship with the u.s. and pakistan, both are taking center stage at the moment. there is an element of defiance and anti-u.s. defiance, which is
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unfortunately the promulgated in the media among politicians, et cetera, et cetera. and this makes, and this takes on a very hard line on afghanistan. how dare the u.s. go round pakistan and talk to the taliban without involving pakistan. how dare the u.s. talk about this transition strategy without first sharing it with pakistan. but at the same time, the very weakness of the military at this point, because of all the other crises pakistan is upset with, the military is weak. the military is not in position to launch a two or to try to take control of the country. i think it would also be willing and ready to accept as i said many most kind of set of demands for itself. and it's a question now really how the u.s. and international community is going to play with pakistan. it's also going to be defined and aggressive, or is it going to be a little more patient?
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i think that's important. but two things pakistan has to do i think. the first is that it is absolutely clear that the time has long passed that pakistan can continue getting physical support for extremists and fundamentalists, ebay those fighting any more be those those fighting in afghanistan. and i think this is going to require, started with afghanistan which is probably a little easier to do, there has to be now a deadline given to the afghan taliban and to its jason fellow groups to move out of pakistan, in order to speed up its reconciliation with the karzai government. and pakistan has to put a more positive role than it has done so for. it can't remain silent. it is critical for the international community to know that pakistan is giving this, in which the taliban has to talk to
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the kabul government. i think that is very important. and secondly, there has to be a major effort of deradicalizati deradicalization. now, this is an confrontation in a military way. it means a program of deradicalization, which i believe the international community would support. this is the kind of thing the international command would actually give money to if pakistan did not have the resources itself. for example, we have reached a certain stage with improving relations with india, that they can't go any further than where they are because of this problem of lashkar-e-taiba and all the other groups that exist. there's a limit to how far you can go with karzai, and getting friend began with the u.s. because ultimately you're left with the fact that afghan taliban is sitting in pakistan. so we cannot move forward decisively in this region for
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the -- unless pakistan is prepared to offer a program for deradicalization on both the afghan and india front. >> thank you. mark, i want to turn. the notion of the aim needs to be to end the war before the united states leaves. when i was there in october, my sense was that if the goal is a peaceful stable afghanistan, it's going to take a long time, and it is not something that can be accomplished between now and 2014. but i'd like to comment on mr. rashid's suggestion and then ask in the context of this, there has been an announcement in the last, over the weekend, that, in fact, there is now integral on the issue of night raids, which has been standing in the way of a strategic
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partnership agreement between the united states and afghanistan. is that strategic partnership agreement now liable to be concluded, and what will it say about a post 2014 presence of the united states in the event that we can't get it all done and get the end we want the twin now 2014? what will it say about a u.s. commitment in afghanistan post-2014? >> first off, thank you very much. when ahmed said, oh, well, it's all got to be done by 2014. stop, the bars are high here but it can't be that i. and so steve, the point that you make about the agreement that we've just reached with the governor of afghanistan on the question of special noted operations night raids combined with one a week or so ago on retention, does open the door from the strategic partnership agreement document and i think it's a very important thing to
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get signed. i hope it will be done soon. our negotiator's are back in business with the afghans starting today. i don't know how long it will take but we liked of be good document. and it will as you say defined relationship between afghanistan and the united states of america post 2014. i think it's important to answer some of ahmed's questions, but if you allow me, it starts and some of the other questions that we heard here. i don't know if i could talk a minute about the comments were heard before. first, let me just say to both you and to everyone in this room, i think the idea that reconciliation and the process of reconciliation and the questions that are posed by reconciliation has to be dealt with the more inclusive manner around, in afghanistan, in the region with the united states and others is absolutely right. one of the things that i think really strikes me in all of this is that reconciliation is not an issue between the government of
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afghanistan and insurgent. reconciliation is an issue about afghan society and that means all society has to be involved in this. when you think about the question that you asked, what's it mean, how's it work, one of the advantages that i've had, i've been working in this job now for just over a year, is that we set out, secretary state set out, secretary state set al qaeda figure of 2011 our deadlines for the they answer some of your question. because what we say? was a people who reconcile first of all have to break with al qaeda. and secondly they have to stop the violence epidemic to live inside the constitution inside afghans which respects the rights of women, minorities and others. this is a reconciliation among and inside afghans aside is extreme import. i just want to repeat a point i made in my presentation, in my opening, which was to say the role of the united states in talking to the taliban, in meeting with insurgents, one and one only, that is to try to open
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the door to a conversation among afghans about the future. i think that's important. the questions you ask her questions that afghans have to answer about how they wish to live. the point you make about the regions extremely important one of the reasons that all of us have said this region diplomacy has got to go forward and didn't successful way, if you would allow the, i would also like to tie my interest if you will end this whole question of economic developers to the empowerment of women in afghanistan. because i think among the most interesting people that you meet in afghanistan or female entrepreneurs. i think that there's a power to be unleashed there so that women entrepreneurs, women in business have a standing in society so when they face these questions of how far, how much, what changes, that women and other groups can have stand for themselves and i think that's extremely important. if i might then come to the point that ahmed made before we leave, i think we shouldn't get
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trapped here in the proposition that on december 31, 2014, we are gone. because if that were our policy, i think we couldn't accomplish any of the task we set out to do. so it is one part of sending the message that after 2014 there will be american engagement in afghanistan but it will be military. it will be economic. it would be political. you have to do with the rule of law, it will have to do with democracy or all of the things that is yet to be negotiate. so it's not possible i believe to say all, end this war before december 20, -- 2014. that's one have to continue on and with the spd bilaterally between afghanistan and the united states. when i think about chicago, you have these lines of operation now. you have a military line, which is very important.
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you have civilian effort and development, government and all these things people are investing in in afghanistan. you have the question of transition to get the question of reconciliation, and the job in chicago is to bring all these things together intellectually so people can say this is the policy of the international community in afghanistan. i think if we are successful with that, chicago, if i could put in a very important conference in kabul following of istanbul for the region, but istanbul, bonn, chicago, tokyo, you've got a way forward here a way people can understand. >> thank you, marc. i want to go back to this issue that you raise, subcontinent about the reconciliation process. i think marc has begun to give the u.s. government's framework for dealing with those answers but i want to ask each of you really the same two questions. marc talk about a broader
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conversation, reconciliation needs to be an opportunity for a broader conversation among all elements of afghan society. not so easy to do, and i would like to ask each of you to talk a little bit about what kind of conversation should there be within afghan society, and how does it get structured? and then secondly, can the election in 2014 be a vehicle for actually having that kind of conversation and advancing the prospects for a broader reconciliation? so i'm going to ask you to put your policymaker hats on, and talk a little bit about how to structure this conversation and how can the election be used to do that. and if you might, can we begin with you? >> yes, sure.
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just follow up on what ambassador grossman has said about toshiba that exist in afghanistan. i think we have been an afghans and i have been to this usage into the habit from the provincial level to the capital. want to make sure that the image that we get the media and many of the conference, but also but everything is damaging, the country is going to fail, i don't truly believe in that because i see the changes that happened from last january, the rights and justice, there are marvelous. we have been through the change and we don't want to show that afghanistan is a failed cause. it's not a failed cause. it needs more structure and systematic strategies to put in place. otherwise the achievement that we had has opened a great range of opportunities for the international engagement and connectivity of afghanistan to the world, plus to be further
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engage in our country. so thank you very much, ambassador grossman. i think of achievements also because i really wanted to wallow on the. i think, based on what we hear from media, that's totally a different picture we have in afghanistan currently. and in addition to question, how to have more structure to the process of reconciliation afghanistan, i think as i've mentioned there was lack of structure in the strategy from the beginning, in the process. for make it more structure, first the process should be -- we have disclosed this issue several times in front of ip's cancer of afghanistan but they're saying there are issues that we cannot disclose it. and if the issues remain close and the process, then how we
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know as a nation of the country that what are the substance happening about different deed, whether it is a deed happened between countries in the region or whether it is really trust also from the place. as recently, all of us know that even upon government is not in the picture. even afghan government is complaining of society lining in the process. and that's really damaging the sovereignty of the country, and that is greater frustration among the afghan government also about the entire process. so inclusiveness now for us is not only to include women or society group, is to include afghan government also in the process. that's very important. i know taliban -- [inaudible] they don't want to come and recognize the constitution, and how they see the future.
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that is a really but hard to predict a successful outcome, or expected outcome out of the process. the taliban are not even legitimizing or considering the afghanistan government the last 10 years. so this is a huge talk right to inclusiveness is not only about women's groups, about civil society. it is about afghanistan government also that i wanted to mention here. the more structured way is very first inclusiveness. inclusiveness, i think, it is a broader, honey, conservation process. to create that around the country. which we are expecting the high peace conference to start the. they were not able to reach the different elements of a society which is private sector, institutions, education which were named at the beginning, and
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we have several talks about this, that we have to have outreach and have a member of them at least as a representative. so this constitution should at least, i know that time is very, very limited, but we have just started the conservation to we have to have outreach the international committee i would like to focus on that they have also started a. is a project that they wanted to do to have outreach. but they can for themselves society was only that. i do mean society ngos. they are not civil society only. civil society in afghanistan has a broader definition and you want all of them to be included in the process because all of them to complain always. if we don't include them, you will not be able to legitimize the outcome of the peace process. because i have to legitimize at the end of the day. so that is conservation which it happened which gives structure
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to entire process to the second thing, the transmitter i think it's important, the media should cover some of if you want to, as i mentioned, there's extreme level of pessimism right now among the nation to if you want to create the level of nashville where to ensure people that something is coming out of the process. something is happening in the process, otherwise people keep thinking negatively about the entire process. and if you don't have the support of people, again i said, it will hurt the outcome of the process. the third thing i think we need to have a meteor negotiated. we have lacked in the process because talking, we haven't started the process yet. there hasn't been a start of the process you. we haven't talked about the substance about the trust of the region, the weekend in logistics, i want to say. and that's according to peace building procedures, i mean,
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this process has shortcomings because the process hasn't started yet and with only another -- the deadline given to us, and how we are sure this is another two years will be a will to create a good outcome. so the discussion again i would like to say that the work should be out, should be a little bit out of the logistic efforts and should be focus more on the substance of the process, which is to bring, have a consultati consultation, secondly, talk about the substance, substance means and what are the interests of afghanistan. different sectors interest, under one umbrella of the government and civil society all at once. the region interest fortunately pakistan is involved, iran is another player, includes a lot in education, through religious institutions and many more. so there are also other staples but they have to really come to
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the table. they have to come to the table at least by the afghan government if our international partners don't want to initiate that. and media ethics and important in the process, that we need have. because right now than utility of the process and other questions, and afghanistan, is to include that it is united states initiative and it is run and only happening the taliban and united states, the process. so this action until has to be removed. so that undermined in the code of the process also. the international partners including united states can be, definitely they are a strong supporter for the political segment of afghanistan. but to deal with this, it has good points as well as bad point. at that point that this is going
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to undermine the new truly of the process, think about it. >> interest. wanted like to do in concluding this -- what i would like to do in concluding this face of the conversation is unlike to turn to ambassador turn 13 and turn 22014 election. is given us a good description of the kind of process you like to see. if you toggle a bit about the 14 election and what afghans need to do in the international committee needs to do to make sure that that gives a free and fair election. i'm going to ask them mr. rashid to talk a little bit about what more should be done with the regional players to build on what was done in bonn and istanbul, and then marc, give you a chance to respond, particularly to the comments we major, and then at that point will go to the questions from the audience. >> i just want to start off by saying before getting to the election issue, that we have had
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gains over the past 11 years. what needs to be done is to consolidate these gains. afghanistan is in a much better place than it used to be but we're sitting here 10 years later, or 11 years later, discussing what might happen if the taliban return or what might happen if afghanistan collapses. nobody 10 years ago would have thought we would be at this point today. in afghanistan at least, nobody thought we would be reaching this level of the fragility. so what we are facing today in the region as well as in afghanistan is a certain level of fragility that needs to be fixed. and the fixing of course has to be initially come from within afghanistan but we just sort of all of us agreed that there's a component outside of afghanistan that needs to be brought back into the process. we see an afghanistan that we put our house, we are putting our house in order.
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we have the major elements of our society coming under this big tent, but some of our cousins are missing. it is the taliban to join the 10 income under the 10. now, there are two types of taliban from afghan perspective. there's the taliban who is radicalized. it was extremist, jihadi and was not going to budge or change under whatever circumstance. then there's the taliban that thing, and we assume, is willing to change and is willing to come and join the other cousins under the 10. and this is where we are all trying to sort of nudged him, sort of push them, sort of encouraging and insight into come into, under the tent. we all know that cousin lives out on the borders and we all know that pakistan in its decision-making body can have probably the definitive, you
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know, provide a definitive help that is needed in order to push the cousins back into afghanistan. so then we could enter into talks with them. so this is sort of the picture we're facing right now. and i think then the conversation in afghanistan can really flourish, and the international committee can then play the role that it intends to do. but meanwhile, the international committee needs to give assurances but and i'm glad to see of course we had a couple process. we, of course, had istanbul and bonn to make. chicago is important as ambassador, you mentioned. and tokyo is going to of course give us the financial commitment that is required. i think that's what is missing probably is the messaging the afghan people into the region. that the international community means business, international community, not just about any door in 2014, but continued the
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work that started in 2001. and accomplishing the job with the afghans in the driver's seat, of course. so as you draw down, as you pull out your troops, as you diminish the financial contributions that you have made over the years that have been tremendous, and i as an afghan and absolutely grateful or what the international team has done, and the blood that has been shed on all sides, i think that we all realize that we need to end this, but in the end not just saying the war will end in 2014. it's how reach come in 2014, we need to be able to say we are now going to enter a political settlement period face. and beyond that we need to make sure that we consolidate for the peace in afghanistan as well as the way forward to rebuild afghanistan. and that brings me to the elections of 2014, which is
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going to be crucial, absolutely critical, in trying to determine which path we are going to take. we have had 10 years of experience with democracy that is young, immature, and is learning sort of the way forward. don't expect afghanistan to become the jeffersonian democracy or the swiss model democracy people are talking about within a generation or two. it is going to take much longer. but what choice do afghans have between a democratic future and radicalism? is there a third option that they do have, also in pakistan or the region. because what we have, what we are facing right now is a choice between and in perfect democracy but one that hopefully will be nurtured and helped along, and forces of radicalism. so we have to make that choice, and that choice has to be made
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first. the elections are going to be a critical testing point, testing ground, and we need to make sure that we stay within the bounds of the constitution. if the constitution needs to be reformed, afghans need to initiate a discussion and a debate within the country to reform it. but that has to be inclusive and that has to bring on board all the elements that would bring about that kind of reform. ..
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party or whatever movement they want. how do we do this? how do you convince the taliban? it is the current. and their solution. >> does pakistan and the ability. and what alzheimer's -- what regional basis and protect this process? >> the first is any discussion in washington, how are you going to withdraw these troops. who is going to stand by 9 the
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stability for supported and protected the election in 2004 and 2008? ? one idea if president karzai sees it in himself to bring the e election forward so that the international presence can be there and play a role, bringing the election forward until next year or even to the beginning of 2014 would be of enormous help to the international community. you want it process where you would like to include the caliban in this process too. that is the big question. will be talks progress to the spot where you can actually ask some taliban to stand, would they take it to the election or not? it is probably vital that the
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transition to the next president with a new face. delay new cabinet should take pla last year. president karzai has not put together a comprehensive scheme to negotiate with the taliban. we're seeing in afghanistan is these talks with the taliban are reenergize in the ethnic issue and creating -- open talk of civil war. there is open talk of civil war between the north and the south and other ashton --pashtun.
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whether they can stand that strain, that is why if there is this belief that there is this naive belief that somehow the americans will get up from their trench and say goodbye and leave. and hold that french. and hold the whole country against the taliban? and a state of war in 2014 when 80,000 troops are leaving afghanistan there is going to be a wave of attacks. that is why i really do see the most important needs is how to reduce so that the burden does not fall on this afghan army which you all know -- solyndra
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drug taking, etc.. we really don't know. third, there have been divisions in this administration in washington. i don't think we can ignore them. there has been a major call for the problems with these negotiations. it seems they're objecting to sir and weigh about a prisoner exchange. the more divisions we are that that articulated outside pakistan iran, it creates problems for the u. s and these negotiations and these other countries have an angle on which
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to build their own descend on. as far as the regional issues are concerned it is going to need a massive diplomatic emphasis which as you said maybe the state department on its own simply because the state department -- you need somebody else to talk to the iranians if you want its settlement. it is tragic the way the un has been run down. the un is not in a position at the moment to take a penny leading negotiating position unless it is prepared to bring people from outside. i do believe the americans can result for themselves if they designate -- talk to the iranians. it is a critical part of any kind of regional -- in pakistan
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the problem is there is a huge domestic prices. you have the ability to get rid of the government. the judiciary lining up to get rid of the government. it is something that paralyzed the government for the last 20 years. there might be a slight hiatus but it will escalate again. you have got insurgencies in the tribal areas. it is unfortunate that there has been so little pressure on the military. in a more comprehensive way to change pakistan's foreign policy because that is what it means. the military controls it but there is pressure to change it. civil society and other groups are trying to pressure the military to unchanged it and the military is deeply confused and
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deeply aware things cannot continue. to take that step to turn this around as it were is something no one has the courage to do. the more aggravating from other side's, something the americans are doing. after all the aggravation, i can well understand the frustration in washington. the road is not open and there has been an agreement with pakistan but people are seeing this as a tit-for-tat thing, not a strategic or positive issue. there's a huge domestic prices
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which has dominated everything. we are not going to see a reconciliation with the united states. the military, the government, the parliament are all held hostage for the fundamentalist media industry too. pakistan is down this road and hope it can come out sooner rather than later. i hope can play a constructive role in afghanistan. as i said turning the ship around nobody seems to have the will to do it. either the military or the politicians or the government. it is brought forward in pakistan too more this year than next. if you have a new government, it
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could possibly tackle these issues that need to be looked at. >> you have a broad canvas about the questions that you brought up and go to the q&a. >> i felt these last few minutes -- this is rolling. i do want to make sure there's room for questions but if i could take it through a couple scenes that emerged here back to the question of reconciliation. i think it is extremely important to emphasize again and again as our colleagues have, about society. it is not the government of afghanistan. is about the united states of america? i want to say to you and the
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audience there is one purpose for the united states in the taliban. at the moment the taliban doesn't want to talk about the government of afghanistan and someone has to break through an open that door. our goal is to open that. talks are suspended. can't give you a guarantee but our purpose is to open that door so afghans talked to other afghan that future afghans. and i want to agree with you that the council has an important role to play as a more inclusive body. when i go to afghanistan and when i was there a a couple weeks ago i make a point to visit with the high council. that is important message. it has to be more inclusive and accommodating and talk to the people around the country. the question both of you raised is don't forget the
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accomplishments. in not forgetting the accomplishment i take one lesson which is for the taliban is not for afghan society to accommodate to the taliban but the reverse. we mustn't fall into the trap that the job of afghan society makes it easy for the taliban to reintegrate. it is the job of the taliban to recognize what is happening in afghanistan over these past ten years. another point which is really important is how do the cousins as you put it, how do they make their own decisions. a very powerful decision has been made by almost 4,000 people in the reintegration program. reintegration is an important part of this as well. i would like to make one point about tokyo. this important part of the idea of going forward, tokyo is a
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place where the international community makes its commitments on the development to the government of afghanistan. bonds also call upon the government of afghanistan to make commitments to the international community. people will be looking for that plan in tokyo as well. final point on the reconciliation, this room is full of former colleagues of mine who know that i have many thoughts but not keeping the government of pakistan or afghanistan full the informed what we're doing on reconciliation. i recognize that is what people say but i want to tell you work hard to make sure people like either in the dark or excluded. the important points that are often made about pakistan. there is a domestic issue in pakistan and they need to work on this issue that is really
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true. the two points that are important on afghanistan. one is when you say nobody is thinking about how to structure forces in afghanistan for an election in 2014, that is part of the importance of this. to talk about these transitions. when i was in europe a couple weeks ago to get support it was on people's minds because people are starting to recognize that two transitions are happening and need to happen successfully. i go back again to the question that we are leaving. the taliban needs to think there's going to be a strategic partnership document and has to recognize the afghan national security force, military police will grow 352,000 people and that number is going to stay consistent until the end of 2015 and as circumstances arise it
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will slow down. increasingly what do they show? they do the kinds of jobs that are important. finally i come back to the point that this panel is all about. the peace process is usually important. it is in just the peace process but an afghan peace process. when you say what are the prospects for peace in afghanistan? if afghans take ownership then they are higher. if they won't take ownership of the process they are lower. not just a peace process but an afghan peace process and prospects are good. >> i have six questions which i have artfully turned into four questions, one for each panelists. we will go through and see how much time we have at the end. the first is for nilofer sakhi. do you think the taliban have moderated many of their views on women and the like? or do they want to go back to
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the policies of the 1990s and girls' education and the like? for those taliban -- where do you think their views are today? >> that is a good question. we don't really know they have moderated their views because we haven't heard anything from them. to be very clear about women's positions. there were couple of statements from them that show that they want women's roles according to sharia law. there's difference in interpretation whether they want the same regime and if they want to name that as a perfect model. i don't think they have
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reformed. the other thing they are saying is recently -- women going out side, traveling with someone, all eyes show us that they happen to modify and think about that. technically they are focusing very much on the woman's will according to sharia law. women's rights is good and we respect that and if it is happening -- it is what the building to a regime. that is a modification of that.
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>> two fingers. >> why it is so important is the taliban have been locked in statehouses for the last ten years. they have not met with a new generation of afghans who have come out the post 9/11 generation. they need exposure to these things. if you have taliban i would hope the first thing that would happen is you would get delegations of afghans from all walks of life meeting with the taliban. at the taliban meeting working with teachers, nurses, doctors and afghan business and members of the afghan police. presumably the office would give the taliban exposure to modern afghan society that has come since 9/11 more than ever before. >> on mark's point sins the burden on the taliban for this reconciliation process it would
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be an opportunity for the taliban to clarify and reassure women of afghanistan on this point. how do you assess the ability of the loyal opposition to mobilize afghans to participate in the country's politics and how do new address issue of the split between north and south and mobilizing the south particularly in the direction of democracy and development? >> we have good questions and ones that i hope we're pondering over. it would be good to create their
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political platforms. whether this will translate is up to them. offered the afghan people a set of policies dealing with different sectors and their viewpoint in a more coherent manner. it seems that so far their activities and behavior is somewhat at hawk and not fully integrated in the movement as well as an interim movement fashion. i think there are issues that need to be raised, loyal opposition groups that they share in terms of interests in terms of how to move forward toward a credible election, legitimate election. how to deal with certain constitutional questions between
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now and election time. how to make sure we do not go off track with elections overall and the process that it needs. in terms of north/south in 2009 elections would hold straw's. demonstrates one very positive change and that was the ability of the candidate, the top three or four candidates to cross barriers that existed in afghanistan prior to 2009 whether they ever ethnic boundaries or regional boundaries. we see the main candidates were able to tap into communities that were seen as impossible prior to the elections. this to me shows afghan society is maturing in the sense of seeing beyond the immediate communal interests and goes
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beyond that. this is a very good outcome of what has been happening over the years. in 2014, an opportunity to depend on this achievement. the media in afghanistan played an incredible role in stirring debate and allowing people to talk about all issues. every time i turned to the afghan media in afghanistan and listen to these discussions i am amazed at what we had in 2001 and what we have today. is important to protect this as well as the input of civil society of different groups. this is an educational process. whether you are in a village in afghanistan to tv and media and satellite or whether you are in this city you are bound to be impacted by all these changes.
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it is good news for the political process. the south-north issue will become less of an issue over time. interesting. >> for ahmed rashid, during recent interviews you stated the biggest failure of the u.s. coalition effort has been an ability to establish a viable indigenous economy in afghanistan. what could be done to fix this? what are the priorities between now and 2014 if in addition to a security transition and political transition we're talking about an economic transition. what are the two high leverage things you would like marc grossman and his team to focus on between now and 2014 on the economic side? >> to its credit this administration has tried very hard to improve the economic situation from the start of the civilian experts. at the same time the war has intensified and is difficult to
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get out and actually improve the economy and invest in agriculture. should have been the main focus from 2001 which unfortunately was not the main focus of the bush administration. it was the intention of this administration but not able to fulfill it. i fear we will be left with tens of thousands of afghans and troops in one way or another which is a generation again that is in favor of democracy and reform and change and this generation is going to be left out when they leave. nobody is talking about setting up a computer chip factory in fifth kabul with talking about a self sustaining economy particularly investment in agriculture. the only way that can be really effectively achieved in the long term is if the world -- if there
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was to be regional -- regional reduction of violence on the national level and the regional level. i see friends from the world bank who have good ideas. can it be done in the next 18 months or so before the withdrawal takes place? probably not. what should be done now by marc grossman and others and that the tokyo conference this will come up, should be made as to how to develop the policies and what investments are needed. down the road the topic of minerals and oil and gas and chinese and indians taking up options, that is going to be a hugely beneficial -- there again, the outcome is capable of
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looking after sudden wealth. there's going to be the need for international help on that. we don't want copper warlords like we have drug warlords right now. secondly if there's peace in the region afghanistan is the crossroads of asia which we talked about a lot by the state department and hillary clinton, a huge money earner. desperately needs pipelines across afghanistan to provide oil and gas and electricity to india and pakistan. there are all these possibilities. meme roth fallout is going to be very dangerous and precarious putting tens of thousands of afghans on to the job market. >> two things. >> addition to what ahmed rashid
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said, the specialization of this. for that new generation to focus -- the most important thing to provide more education and facilities and scholarship and that is going to help in the long term if you're thinking of sustainability of the economy because right now all of the scholarship on particular issues but focus on the economy, that is why we have few people giving economic advice and the government also. that can be one of the things that support the government also in the private sector. private sector has done a marvelous job. we can visit on that and the technicality and professionalism of the private sector.
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>> thank you. last question for marc grossman. first part of it is something you may not want to answer but i will give you a second half of it which will allow you to avoid answering a few sessions. [talking over each other] >> what would be the optimum u.s. military presence in afghanistan post 2014 and related question, how do you balance what is needed to meet afghan and u.s. interests from a force presence standpoint against upsetting afghan neighbors and against the demand of the taliban that there be a withdrawal of more international forces. how do you balance in a way of those factors in terms of setting up what the u.s. presence post 2014 should be. >> i will take one second to pose an economic question.
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the regional aspect is right. private sector aspect is right and for investments to support afghan private sector. two points if you allow me. first if there are opportunities like minerals that are available now, i don't say this economic vision solve all problems between now and 2014. it does not. there are opportunities that could be taken down just today. the other thing that is really important here is as we talk to american companies what do they say? security is important. you know what they really say? what is the rule of law structure in afghanistan for commercial law? how to i resolve my disputes? the government of afghanistan has work to do here to set a legal framework to encourage foreign directing investment. you can see in 2011 we had

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