About the Discussion:
The US-led Afghan 'peace' process is on a 'pause and search' phase after US Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, first unveiled the key elements of a provisional agreement with the Taliban on the withdrawal of US forces, counter-terrorism guarantees, the start of intra-Afghan talks, and reduction in violence which was followed by President Trump's surprise announcement of a planned meeting with Taliban representatives at Camp David and his abrupt calling off of the talks, on September 8. Since then, Ambassador Khalilzad has made a visit to Islamabad and is now visiting key European capitals in an attempt to revive the process which many have criticised as a 'withdrawal' agreement that could lead to further instability rather than the beginning of a peace process. The Chinese too have convened a meeting to revive the process in Beijing.
Afghanistan has viewed India as a trusted partner for its stabilizing presence and reconstruction efforts in the country. So far, however, India has kept on the sidelines of the US-led process and skeptical of its chances of success. This has also led to a mistaken feeling in some circles that India is not interested in peace in Afghanistan. In the wake of what looks like a resumed call for peace, Ms. Yourish argues that Indian influence in this peace process needs to go up sharply to ensure that Afghan democracy flourishes.
About the Speaker:
Muqaddesa Yourish is a former Deputy Minister of Commerce for Afghanistan and an adjunct lecturer with the American University of Afghanistan, Department of Business. She has an MBA with highest honors from Akron University Ohio, a Diploma in National Security and International Relations, and a BBA from Pune University of India. Muqaddesa has a strong track record of serving in the government in different capacities; she has previously served as a Commissioner for the Independent Administrative Reforms and Civil Service Commission of Afghanistan (IARCSC) and Director of Human Resources for Kabul Municipality.
Prior to joining the government, she has managed and directed several assignments for a diverse set of clients in private sectors She is also an active member of “Afghanistan 1400”, a political movement drawn from a new generation of energetic, political-minded Afghans working to lay the foundations of a better Afghanistan for tomorrow.
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