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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.
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Jan 29, 2019
Amb Zalmay Khalilzad Visits CAPS

Amb Zalmay Khalilzad Visits CAPS

 The Centre for Conflict and Peace Studies was honored to host Amb Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation of Afghanistan for a lunch on on 29th January 2019. Amb John R. Bass, US Ambassador to Afghanistan and colleagues from the embassy accompanied Amb Khalilzad who is visiting Kabul after six days of extensive discussions with Taliban in Doha, Qatar. CAPS Chairman, Hekmat K. Karzai extended warm welcome to the delegation.

Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil, Abdul Salam Zaeef, Jalaluddin Shinwari, all members of CAPS Advisory Shura (CAS), Hekmatullah Azamy, CAPS Deputy Director and Allah Dad Balkhi were also present in the meeting.

 Mr Karzai started the meeting with praisingAmb Khalilzad’s recent efforts for peace in Afghanistan. Calling peace a priority for Afghans, Mr Karzai expressed support to Amb Khalilzad’s mission and said “CAPS and CAS stand with you”.

 Mr Karzai also provided a brief introduction of CAPS activities particularly its legal program that provides pro bono legal assistance to security detainees in Afghanistan. Started in 2009 with the aim to promote and strengthen justice, rule of law and human rights as well as to work vigorously towards trust building for peace dialogue in the country, the legal program has represented over 6,000 Taliban prisoners and released over 2,000 of its clients. Mr Karzai said that the detainees issue is of utmost importance for the Taliban in the negotiations.

 Echoing Mr Karzai, Abdul Salam Zaeef said that peace and Taliban detainees are interlinked. “The five Taliban released from Guantanamo and Mullah Ghani Baradar are playing a very constructive role in peace talks” said Mr Zaeef adding that there are more such individuals currently held in either Afghan or American custody. Mr Zaeef argued that prisons should be for reforms not “a factory” to produce more enemies against the government. He outlined several challenges the prisoners are facing.

 Amb Khalilzad said that the 17 years of war is resulting in many challenges and the issue of prisoners is one of them. He called these problems legitimate and hoped they will be resolved once the conflict is settled through a political dialogue.

 Later, Amb Khalilzad talked about his recent meeting with Taliban in Doha, Qatar. “I am encouraged by the Talibn meeting” Amb Khalizad noted saying there was good progress made in the withdrawal of NATO troops and the issues of Counter Terrorism (CT) post reconciliation. He, however, said that two main obstacles of how to enter an intra-Afghan dialogue and a comprehensive ceasefire are outstanding.

 Amb Khalizad said that peace talks may not succeed only if Taliban and US are talking. “An intra-Afghan dialogue between Taliban and the Afghan government is needed” he noted.

During the discussion, CAPS offered suggestions and possible options that could address these two challenges.
Finally, Amb Khalilzad praised this meeting calling it useful. He suggested that these meetings will continue in the future.

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