Obama to Hear About Karzai’s ‘Peace’ Plan
I was on a plane returning from Guantanamo Bay on Friday while the White House held a conference call about Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to Washington, which formally begins tomorrow at the State Department. Here’s how Lt. Gen. Doug Lute, the White House’s Afghanistan-Pakistan coordinator, described the visit’s primary policy focus, according to the transcript:
I think the most immediate thing that we’ll be interested in discussing with President Karzai and his team next week has to do with the next upcoming event, which is the consultative peace jirga scheduled for perhaps just several weeks from now. And in particular here, we’re interested in, as Ben [Rhodes of the National Security Council] suggested, in President Karzai’s objectives for the jirga, what he hopes to achieve; and then, most important for us, how it is we can best support him.
Karzai announced in January that he’d assemble a “peace jirga” to establish national Afghan consensus around an offer to Taliban leadership to stop the insurgency. We don’t know what it will include. Its prospect for receptivity are in doubt. Afghan human rights activists are worried about being cut out of the process and, effectively, sold out.
Meanwhile, the civilian and military leadership in Afghanistan, Amb. Karl Eikenberry and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, are about to brief the White House press corps on their end of the visit and what they’ve been up to recently.