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Taliban-US Peace Talks

It was a magnanimous act by President Obama to allow the Taliban to sit across a peace table with the United States last month to end the longest American war (12 years) in its history.

America's war in Afghanistan marks the longest in the country's history and
risks continuing beyond 2014 as Washington plans to retain 9 military bases for an additional decade putting the troops in the Jihadist bullseye. And so a conflict that confounded Washington's finest diplomats and generals along with the varying contribution of some 48 allied NATO countries against the Taliban -- a Pashtun tribe subset (Pashtuns consists of 46 million and are the world largest tribe residing in Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan) -- would seem destined to end if structural differences are iron out. One of the major bottlenecks is the position of Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, who feels his authority is undermined. But peace must be the primary consideration in light of the enormous damages sustained in blood and wealth by both the United States and Afghanistan over the last 12 years.

However, hope for resolution emerged on June 18, 2013 when the United States agreed to peace talks in Doha, Qatar with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. If successful, negotiations will create a new phase in Afghanistan. The Taliban would have to disown any relations with al-Qaeda and agree to resolve differences with other Afghani groups and abstain from the use of force and violence. But there is more for peace to break out

Requirements for peace include an immediate cease fire, an inclusive Grand Assembly guided by an updated constitution promoting modernized governance, justice and education, the necessity for general amnesty except for those who generated the most heinous crimes, economic development built on the country's mineral wealth and micro-financing of small and medium sized industries to dramatically reduce unemployment to less than 10 percent in five years. The new government must seriously consider the repatriation of Afghans refugees in Pakistan and Iran and provide them with housing and living conditions well as the management of returning Afghan refugees will require.

The cause of the U.S.-Taliban war is structural miscommunication, i.e., fundamental differences exist in perception, understanding, cultures and technologies.

The antagonists (the U.S. and Taliban) never understood each other but feared each other. That explains their dangerous behavior. The U.S. feared attack by the Taliban and adhered to sophisticated military technology and the Taliban relied on their innate resistance, rich cultural values with a strong staying power at unfavorable odds.

The peace conference must overcome intransigence of distracters because it creates a golden opportunity for the United States to walk away with honor from a conflict with a third world nation and a golden opportunity for Afghanistan to rebuild itself on the wounds, destruction and mercies of the past. Its only salvation is to stick to the peace process, look forward, make it work and life must go on despite hardship

Nake Kamrany is a professor of economics at the University of Southern California and Director of Program in Law and Economics, University of Southern California. Professor Haseena Qudrat is on the faculty of the newly created American University in Afghanistan (Kabul).