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A Prelude to Negotiations With the Taliban

Reuters reports that Afghanistan’s parliament quietly passed a blanket amnesty for human-rights abuses committed before the fall of the Taliban. A war widow from western Kabul named Sakina comments to Eurasia Insight that President Hamid Karzai “wants to give the Taliban money, land and privileges. [And] to me, a victim, he gives a widows’ pension of 300 afs [afghanis] a month [$6].” The move benefits parliamentary factions that were themselves involved in warlordism, as Reuters observes, as well as clearing the decks for negotiations with the Taliban — something Karzai said in London he wishes to pursue this year. (Whether the Taliban and its allies consider it in their interest to negotiate is a separate question.)

Suraya Pakzad, one of Afghanistan’s premiere human rights/women’s rights advocates, told me earlier this month that human rights groups need a seat at the drafting table when the Karzai government draws up terms to offer the Taliban.

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