While momentum continues to shift towards pursuing a peace settlement for Afghanistan, ambiguities remain in the US political and military strategy, and there are questions about the ability of the Afghan government to successfully lead a process and the insurgents’ interest in one. A burgeoning body of commentary focuses on international and US strategy, but to be durable a settlement will need to involve some broad-based political and social agreements among Afghans. This crucial intra-Afghan dimension of the process re-quires detailed analysis of the views of Afghan stakeholders.
This paper presents findings from a set of 122 interviews with Afghan leaders and opinion-formers in political, military, economic, and social arenas about their views on the conflict and the issues that a peace process will have to ad-dress. The findings of the interviews suggest a number of key questions about the likely structure of a successful peace process, and areas where further research may be useful. These include the development and communication of military proposals, balancing the interests of Pakistan, interim and longer-term security sector power-sharing, the inclusion of non-combatants in the peace process, and interim and transitional arrangements.
The work forms part of an ongoing project by the research institutions Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), to identify and clarify through research and dialogue issues and options for Afghanistan to move towards durable peace.