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.
Apr 14, 2009
CAPS Meets with Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and Admiral Mike Mullen
On Tuesday, April 07, 2009, a CAPS delegation met with United States Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, as well as Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the United States Joints Chief of Staff. The CAPS delegation included Mr. Hekmat Karzai, the director of the centre and three research analysts: Saifullah Ahmadzai, Elham Gharji and Hyder Akbar. There were various issues discussed during the meeting, including the possibility of reconciliation with the insurgency in Afghanistan, the structure of the insurgency, motivational factors for different insurgent groups, local perceptions and how to achieve stability in the future. The discussion also included an introduction to some of the work that CAPS has been involved in as a research centre.
Mr. Karzai gave an overview about one of CAPS most important projects, the provincial profiles. The briefing included an explanation of the methodology of the profile, how the field research is done and the vital information that this provides on many of the challenges that Afghanistan is currently facing. He also talked about the unique opportunities that CAPS has in terms of gathering research and providing assessments: it is an Afghan research centre that has analysts that understand the local dynamics; through its staff and experience, it also has many networks across the country that it can utilize to get to the right information. Mr. Akbar also elaborated on the provincial profiles, providing information about the various themes of the profiles.
There was also discussion about the current situation in Afghanistan and the way forward for stability in the country. Mr. Karzai offered his perspective on the various factors that have inflamed the insurgency in Afghanistan, including a look at the motives for people to join the insurgency. This was followed by a discussion about possible reconciliation efforts with the Taliban and the feasibility of such a plan in current conditions. Mr. Karzai offered his own analysis on the structure of the Taliban and the possibility of engagement with the group. The regional issues that are having an impact on the current situation were also discussed; Mr. Akbar talked about the volatile Afghan-Pakistan border lands and the implications of those sanctuarieson counter-insurgency efforts. Mr. Gharji discussed the various politics involved on Afghanistan’s borders and the implications of political identity on the current conflict. The meeting ended with Mr. Karzai and the delegation expressing interest on keeping the dialogue about these various issues going.
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