This report assesses the interests of the most relevant state and non-state actors in Afghanistan and Central Asia in the aftermath of the 2014 Afghan presidential election. It is guided by the premise that the armed conflict in Afghanistan should be understood as being heavily intertwined with regional politics. Its purpose is to serve as an overview of the negotiation environment in Afghanistan and Central Asia. It identifies actors, interests, and relationships that are helpful to take into consideration when sequencing and orchestrating a peace process that could de-escalate the war in Afghanistan and help build a more stable and cooperative region. The majority of the PRIF Report focuses on relevant actors and their network of relationships, and the conclusion details three future scenarios and a set of recommendations that could facilitate a coordinated negotiation process.
This paper maps out the negotiation environment of the Afghanistan conflict. So far, all attempts to end the violence between the Afghan government, insurgency, and US and NATO through negotiations have failed. Key obstacles to negotiations are the complexity of the conflict and the variety of state and non-state actors that are directly or indirectly involved. This paper explores the interests and relationships of these actors and highlights the most important alliances and connections. Finally, these connections are visualized in a network diagram.
Resistance to negotiation and the continuation of violence dictate the course of events in the Afghanistan conflict. However, several studies have thoroughly explored the interests of the main parties to the conflict and a settlement that respects their key demands is possible. The current military situation resembles a “hurting stalemate,” which according to rationalist assumptions should compel the parties to move toward negotiations. This article argues that the main obstacle to negotiation is an underlying and unaddressed conflict of recognition between the United States, the Afghan government, and the Taliban. While each party believes it is driven by justice claims, they perceive their opponents to be driven by a hostile strategy informed by incompatible interests. Relying on the Cultural Theory of International Relations, this article explores the parties’ motives in the conflict, focusing on the need to strive for esteem and honor. It suggests that the reciprocal acknowledgement of legitimate identity-related justice claims could remove a key obstacle to formal negotiation.
The Peace Report (Friedensgutachten) is the joint yearbook of the institutes of peace and conflict research in Germany. It has been published annually since 1987. Researchers from various disciplines examine ongoing international conflicts from the perspective of peace strategy. Their analyses are the basis for the editors’ statement which summarizes and assesses the results and formulates recommendations for peace and security policies in Germany and Europe.