October 19th, 2010
11:58 AM ET

Opinion: Restoring the tribal balance the only path to peace

Editor's note: Khalil Nouri is the co-founder of New World Strategies Coalition Inc., a native Afghan think tank for political, economic and cultural solutions for Afghanistan. Michael Hughes is a journalist and blogger for The Huffington Post and Examiner.com. He is also a strategist for the New World Strategies Coalition.  The statements and opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of the authors. 

By Khalil Nouri and Michael Hughes, Special to CNN

President Barack Obama doesn’t have a viable Afghanistan exit strategy due to a fatal flaw in America’s policy development process: a complete lack of input from native Afghans. It is time for the U.S.-led coalition to realize there is only one solution for peace in Afghanistan – and that is an Afghan solution.

The alternatives bandied about to date are formulas for state collapse – a nearly 10-year-old failed counterinsurgency effort; a power-sharing arrangement that would divvy up Afghanistan between corrupt government officials, Islamic fundamentalists and mujahideen warlords; and a partition strategy guaranteed to yield perpetual civil war.

However, as paradoxical as this might seem, the U.S. cannot withdraw until an indigenous political solution is in place, because abandoning the field to the Taliban would create dire consequences that make the present military occupation look good by comparison. FULL POST

Filed under: Peace jirga • Taliban • Voices • Your View
June 22nd, 2010
01:04 PM ET

Official: Afghan prisoners freed in gesture of goodwill

Afghanistan has announced the freeing of prisoners and the United Nations' intentions to remove some Taliban members from a terror blacklist, efforts that come on the heels of a recent nationwide peace conference, government officials said on Tuesday.

More than 25 prisoners have been freed in a move to get militants to lay down their arms, a government official told CNN Tuesday. FULL POST

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Peace jirga • Taliban
June 7th, 2010
08:18 AM ET

Afghan officials quit in wake of jirga attack

Kabul, Afghanistan - Afghanistan's interior minister and director of national security have resigned in the wake of an attack on a high-level peace conference last week, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said Sunday.

Karzai demanded an explanation of the security breach from Interior Minister Hanif Atmar and NDS chief Amrullah Saleh, and when they could not provide one, he accepted their resignations, the president's office said. FULL POST

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Filed under: Karzai • Peace jirga
June 4th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

Karzai faces credibility balancing act after peace jirga

KABUL, Afghanistan — When he walked in to the peace jirga tent, President Karzai took up his place in the front row – in a very comfortable looking arm chair. To his left and right, Afghanistan's elder statesmen. Most had long white beards; a good handful were former warlords.

Karzai had come to hear what the 1,600 delegates he'd invited were recommending he do to make peace with the Taliban. He'd had a lukewarm reception when he inaugurated the event three days earlier.

It was, however, not as frosty as the reception the Taliban gave him. A serenade of rockets and gunfire greeted his opening speech. One rocket landed just 200 meters away.

June 4th, 2010
08:39 AM ET

Jirga delegates: Taliban prisoners should be freed

Delegates to a peace conference in Afghanistan asked Friday that Taliban prisoners be freed from Afghan and international detention centers. They also urged the Taliban to cut its ties with al Qaeda.

The suggestions are among 200 that delegates to the conference, or jirga, made to authorities.

The delegates also recommended that names of all Taliban members be removed from blacklists maintained by the United States and United Nations. Those lists contain the names of suspected militants that U.S. authorities and their allies would like to arrest. FULL POST

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Filed under: Peace jirga • Taliban
June 3rd, 2010
09:16 AM ET

Jirga continues despite Taliban attack

Undeterred by an attack on their gathering a day earlier, hundreds of Afghan tribal and religious leaders were meeting again on Thursday with Western diplomats and the country's lawmakers as they debate how best to negotiate with the Taliban.

The peace gathering, or jirga, was rattled Wednesday when a rocket whistled in within minutes of President Hamid Karzai's opening remarks to 1,600 delegates.

Filed under: Peace jirga
June 3rd, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Watch the jirga attack unfold

Within minutes of President Hamid Karzai addressing the 1,600 delegates at the peace jirga he called to deabte how best to negotiate with the Taliban, a rocket whistled in. More explosions followed. One of the rockets landed by a wall just a few hundred meters from the flimsy peace jirga tents. Gun battles erupted a few miles away in Kabul. FULL POST