A media discussion on Voice of America (Urdu Service) on November 30, 2016. The focus of the program was on the status of Afghan peace process and how it may be impacted by the election of Donald Trump as the new US president. Equally important to watch will be the evolving position of Russia and China on extremism and towards Afghanistan. The key question remains, if Afghan Taliban would join the peace talks that were scuttled after the elimination of Mullah Akhtar Mansour.
Although not much was said about the situation of Afghanistan during the US election debates, in all likelihood there will be some continuity. President elect Trump may offer to work with Russia and China on Afghanistan, as he is expected to do with Russia on the Syrian affairs.
Judging from the appointment of Michael Flynn as the national security advisor, the focus will be more on strategic and ideological issues as oppose to tactical matters. And in this there will be agreement with China and Russia.
The pressure on Pakistan will continue to deliver Afghan Taliban to the negotiation table, exert military and financial pressure on them – especially Haqqani network, and eliminate any remaining presence of Afghan Taliban in the FATA region.
The discussion panel included:
Sami Yousafzai – Correspondent in Pakistan and Afghanistan for The Daily Beast and Newsweek
Arif Ansar – Chief Analyst PoliTact, Washington DC
Dr. Hassein Yasa – Editor Daily Outlook Afghanistan
Beenish Sultan – National Defence University, Islamabad
Manzar Waseem – Editor Western Affairs
Dunya Aslam – Spokesperson UNHCR