The Hope of the Afghan Peace Conference
A three day conference kicked off yesterday in Kabul, Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai initiated the conference in an effort to bring the war-torn country together and generate national consensus on how to end the nearly nine-year war.
Notably absent from the conference were members of the Taliban, however their presence was felt amid rocket attacks and gunfire during President Hamid Karzai’s opening day speech.
The centerpiece for the conference is a program that offers paying jobs to insurgents, in addition to literacy and vocational training for those willing to renounce violence, sever ties with terrorist organizations, and enter a rehabilitation program.
The idea of economic incentives is a promising one, although many are wary of offering deals to the Taliban. In theory however, Karzai’s strategy is sound. The Taliban have made a living off the enticement of the less fortunate to their cause. If those less fortunate are offered incentives other than the life of an extremists, it just may start to turn the tide with the demographic that matters – the country’s youth, under-privileged, and impressionable.