Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
And now you're back to Washington where we've got.
A gentleman insurance reform mark Jacobson is that while military officer.
He's a former senior advisor to General David Petraeus.
He was mark Jacobson was the number two senior official NATO official in Afghanistan.
And he's you know it's not just what's going on in the headlines for somebody -- and as a sort of behind the scenes.
Of the situation in Afghanistan today so mark thank you for joining us you're currently hanging your hat at the German Marshall Fund.
Yes -- thanks for having that we're delighted to have you now what has happened in the last week or so is that.
After nine months of negotiation and -- states and Afghanistan appear to be close to having a strategic partnership agreement what is warning.
What we've seen is the Afghan government and -- Ryan Crocker the US ambassador to Afghanistan.
Initialed the strategic partnership agreement.
Now this still is going to have to be approved.
Back in the United States in Afghanistan.
But what this signifies is that is it ends the uncertainty as to what's going to happen after 2014.
NATO is staying the United States is staying.
The mission may change from a combat role to a training mission but it it it's very important -- -- eliminate this uncertainty as to what happens after transition is complete.
So it's -- a road map to how -- we the United States and the NATO countries withdraw from Afghanistan right.
Yes but I'd hesitate to say the term withdraw its its a transition.
What we're talking about is.
That troops are going to be there after 2014 in fact I think from what was released publicly we're looking at at least a ten year commitment in terms of training of the Afghan national security forces and also helping to continue to develop the Afghan government's capability.
To govern and provide their basic rule of law and services to their people.
-- doing this for ten years is there any confidence -- a second ten years is gonna make a difference.
-- all -- I've always argued that while I completely understand the war weariness after ten years.
We truly only got serious about this in 2009 we began to understand the insurgency.
Really started to devote the resources.
And have the right people in place to get the job done.
Now certain things are only gonna take a few more years the Afghan national security forces will take the lead.
By the really by the middle of 2013 they'll be having the preponderance of the combat mission but.
Dealing with things such as corruption.
Rule of law these are challenges that we -- gonna have to be working on not just for three or four years but really for decades.
But the important thing is will be able to do so.
With a much smaller number of troops than we've seen over the last few years.
OK tell me about my theory which is that there's Afghanistan as a three legged stool one lighter and you need all three legs -- have a still stand.
One -- is the military now you talk about the Afghan National Army say that that within eighteen months time they're going to be able to be in the forefront they'll take the lead and you think that that seems to be on -- -- going well.
But the other two legs of the school now you've alluded to.
Near you mentioned that the second leg of the school which is the endemic corruption you know the Karzai government remains incompetent corrupt and has.
Really at this point fail to unify the country how does that change and then the third leg of the school.
Is Pakistan and the safe havens in Pakistan.
If Pakistan is unwilling or unable to get rid of the Taliban.
Doesn't just mean that the minute we leave or the -- -- our forces stride down at the Taliban just speechwriter for the border back in Afghanistan and vice whatever is left of our forces and Afghan National Army.
Well let me just the Pakistani issue first.
I am less concerned about the column on these days and I am about the Connie network that operates largely in the southeastern part of the country.
And with a hug Connie network gets their strengths that are exactly what you said from the sanctuaries in Pakistan.
Now I'm not quite sure.
What we can do to create a revolutionary change in Pakistan's foreign policy views.
But are very key component is that pockets -- has always believe that America will abandon Afghanistan so I think that the strategic partnership agreement.
Is actually starting to have an impact -- starting let the pakistanis know that we are here to stay and work with the Afghans to deal with this insurgency.
I agree with you all of this -- by comparison with the trouble that we are going to have with with governance.
What drives the insurgency is the Afghan the southern posh -- populations believe.
But they are disenfranchised by the government in Kabul they see corruption.
In their local villages they see I think at times and incompetent Afghan -- government.
In the capital.
If the Afghan government cannot Begin to provide.
Basic the basic ability to adjudicate disputes.
And provide enforcement of decisions that are made that I think you're gonna continue to see people support the Talabani and that said the trend line's been pretty good.
There's a lot of movement in terms of the rule of law programs to help the Afghan government.
And I think that even even Karzai himself has demonstrated ability to deal with some of these challenges in the southern part of the country.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And and a lot of -- -- the Taliban has the same thing as to -- canning network is the same thing as al-Qaeda.
But I suspect they're not can you give us a little bit about well I cast of characters and what's -- the bad guys in Afghanistan.
Sure within that within the larger insurgency really have three major groups you have by the has he has -- me go waiting.
This is a heck -- -- organization.
Some remnants from the -- Mujahedeen days and days but but frankly they've agreed.
Pretty much to try and deal with their problems and that would through the political process there are a lot of has been Islam -- former history is -- -- members who are in the Afghan parliament.
Now -- you have in the south at all behind and this is the group that once governed Afghanistan.
And the group that seeks to do so again and they they have been the -- -- threat.
In this war for the last ten years yourself and they have been -- the focus of NATO's efforts in the Afghan efforts.
But again as I said before I think that they -- their time is waning -- there on the descent.
-- have Connie network the third major group or talking about was largely a criminal network and and while they were not truly part of the column bond.
That that the fact is that these organizations working concert for example.
Mullah Omar has so rather than -- the -- -- said well we're gonna allow that Connie network to operate in the east you know trying to imply.
And he controls.
And they'll put up with this but at the same time they have their own agenda that's really about keeping their criminal network going.
And having influence in particular parts of by eastern Afghanistan.
So hatteras and then NATO forces withdraw -- -- as withdraw as the Afghan military national hiring Afghan National Police first step up and they're not gonna just be fighting one group they're going to be where it sounds like -- several accounting network.
-- along Mars so they're gonna be it could be well be like come multiparty.
Civil war in world does go into a civil war position.
Well I'm not sure we're quite there yet now if the Afghan security forces aren't ready.
And the Afghan government does not continue to evolve in and a positive manner that I think you do run the risk of civil war.
But at the same time I think they're actually advantages to having these separate these.
Bifurcated groups the the agenda that Connie network again is slightly different than that the -- -- That -- network is never governed Afghanistan they don't have the the influence and again.
For largely seen as a Pakistani creation which is not a great thing in the eyes of the Afghan people.
Who don't look very kindly on on Pakistan's interference in -- in their internal affairs.
So I I think that this -- -- necessarily a bad thing I do think we're seeing increase capability the Afghan national security forces.
In fact the attacks that took place just week or two ago.
We're really the first major attacks in six months and when you compare that with Iraq with pockets on.
That's -- something to be said about the level of security in Afghanistan.
Then mark I don't know if you out if we talked about this before -- one of the advantages of this kind of a format.
Is that viewers were watching the show on their computer their iPhone or their hand house are watching you need to talk to you and they're sending me questions to ask you.
And so I've got one from found her body.
Any really if he's talking about the war weariness have been in his remarks are reflective.
If we don't withdraw will linger forever in -- them billions and billions of dollars.
And to a Third World country event well I can't really repeat what photo -- said.
But a country where it's like have bottomless -- now what do you say is somebody who says okay.
We've already -- and let's say half a trillion dollars to Afghanistan we've spent a good 500.
Billion dollars -- why should we spend more because we're not seen a whole lot of progress.
Well I I actually I.
Disagree with the notion that we haven't seen progress Afghanistan's a much different place that wasn't 2001.
It's even a much different place than it was from my first deployment in 2006.
We're talking about a situation where the Afghans have said.
We don't want your assistance forever I mean there's complete agreement between Karzai.
The Obama administration.
NATO that we don't want to stay there forever and they don't want us there forever so what we've.
Developed is this strategy of transition where we will.
Do everything we -- to create the Afghan government's capability to deal with the security governance issues.
So there is an -- state I mean it's pretty clear that the the number of American troops in Afghanistan.
We'll continue to decline over the next several years and the Afghans will take increasing -- responsibility.
For their own security.
I'm in now here in the United States you spent an awful lot of time in Afghanistan -- now that you come -- when you are hearing people.
And -- and -- and seen at the viewpoint that we get a retired this war returns -- money were an age of posterity.
We're having debates in congress who seem to have a broken government.
In Washington where we can't agree to either raise taxes or cut spending or balance the budget.
What happens to aid to Afghanistan.
In that kind of an environment that next year now while the US troops are there but once -- US troops are withdrawing.
I mean you've you've already said that this strategic forces agreement looks out for at least ten years will the American support be there.
57 years from now.
And this is actually an area I'm concerned about I actually think that the development.
Aid and programs are more important in the security peace and the bottom line is unless the Afghan government.
Provides us with.
-- really sustainable plans for the long term development not only of their security forces -- of the government if the Afghan government doesn't reach.
Certain requirements for example making sure there's reform in -- banking sector making sure audits of the Kabul bank in the is easy bank.
To make sure they function.
In a way that's effective and doesn't lend itself towards corruption.
Well I don't think the American people and certainly not.
The US congress are going to agree to fund these efforts however.
I think if you look at both sides of the -- on Capitol Hill there's general agreement that there that.
-- presence in Afghanistan helping to see the mission through -- in.
The national security interest of the United States but that this is there is no blank check here and that there has to be an end of this commitment and there has to be a reasonable plan.
That has benchmarks.
And where we can move forward but in partnership with the Afghans they have certain obligations as well this isn't just about the west -- propping up the Afghan government.
Okay -- -- conclusion where are we five years from now on the best case scenario and in the worst case scenario with Afghanistan.
Well the worst case scenario is clearly that of the Afghan national security forces don't have the ability to do well good to handle the insurgency.
That the Afghan government collapses and we fall is as you suggested earlier to a civil war I mean that's really worst case.
I don't think that's the likely case I think the likely the likely scenario is something where we see the Afghan security forces in the lead.
We see substantial process towards reconciliation.
Of the peace talks of people spoken about.
Between the tall -- on the Afghan government.
And we see -- sort of low level insurgency in the east without Connie network but one that the Afghan government can deal with with a very limited degree.
Of western support.
Okay well that -- has been a very in depth analysis of mark Jacobson who is now the German Marshall Fund that.
Current that was number two NATO official in Afghanistan was a senior advisor.
To General David Petraeus.
Mark Jacobson is somebody who was there when it was really bad.
Where is there and I -- one of the architects of the surge and has been back a number of times to see the progress.
The American surge efforts so please come back and give us a status report in the not too distant future thanks largely thanks Casey.
Filter by section