Located in Kabul, Afghanistan, CAPS is an independent, research centre that strives to conduct action-oriented research which will influence policy-makers. It works diligently towards building local capacity to produce conflict and threat assessments that will influence the safety and security of the people serving the governments, and international aid organizations.
Oct 01, 2013
Former UN-SRSG Kai Eide visits CAPS
On October 1, 2013 Mr. Hekmat Karzai along with his research team met with Kai Eide, the former United Nation Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Mr. Karzai warmly welcomed Mr. Eide to the Center for Conflict and Peace Studies (CAPS), and briefly introduced CAPS and its activities to him. The conversation revolved around Mr. Eide’s notion of the current political situation, and later addressing questions posed by the researchers.
Kai Eide is a Norwegian diplomat and writer. He was appointed the United Nation’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on 7 March 2008, a position he held until March 2010. He served as Special Representative of Secretary-General in different countries. He has been a member of the Norwegian Foreign Service since 1975. He was the Norwegian ambassador to Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from 1998 to 2002 and to NATO from 2002 to 2006. While being a member of the Labor Party today, he has been active in national politics; for the Conservative Party. Eide’s first visit to Afghanistan was September 2003 and he has remained engaged in South Asia ever since.
“I am happy to come back to Afghanistan” Kai Eide said. Yet his enthusiasm did not extend to Afghan politics about which he remains pessimistic. Regarding the political transition he noted, “Afghans will have their election but still the candidates are going to grip the support of the old group.” By that he was referring to those influential individuals who held power back in the 1980s and continue to do so today. Mr. Eide seemed to worry about the strength of the old guard. As he said, “the strength of the old group is still there and election bargaining will increase their strength.” Regarding peace talks with the Taliban, he was more optimistic and hoped for its restart. He emphasized that Afghan reform should be based within Afghan society and Afghans should build strategies in order to reach their strategic goal. Finally, he talked about the culture of super powers, i.e. those countries that exerted considerable influence within Afghanistan and externally, and who he believed were losing interest in the Afghan conflict and politics.
Ehsanullah Kamal, a research analyst here at CAPS, posed a question regarding Mr. Eide’s view on the 2014 elections and related security issues. According to Mr. Eide, the international community and Afghanistan had witnessed some positive steps during the 2008 and 2009 elections as some of the reformers such as Zakhelwal and others became power brokers in the government, yet problems persist as the old power block continue to have authority and reformers remain weak. Afghanistan was losing popularity in the West as a mission to be accomplished. Mr. Eide concluded by urging young Afghans to make the right steps to guide the future of their country.
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