Weekly briefing: Afghanistan peace talks

A weekly round-up of relevant IEP data providing insight into the world around us.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019: Current peace talks in Afghanistan could bring an end to the 18-year conflict. US officials and Taliban representatives have been in ongoing discussions since last October, focusing on an agreement that will allow safe withdrawal for US troops while guaranteeing that Afghan territory will not be used by foreign militants or as a base for terror attacks on the US and its allies. According to reports, the two sides are on the brink of making an official deal, with final approval resting with US President Trump. There are around 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, 18 years after a US-led military coalition toppled the Taliban for providing a safe haven for Al-Qaeda, the perpetrators of the September 11 attack.

Fast facts – Afghanistan

  • In the 2019 Global Peace Index, Afghanistan became the least peaceful country in the world, replacing Syria, which is now the second least peaceful.
  • Violence continues to have a significant impact on economic performance of Afghanistan. In 2018, the economic cost of violence was equivalent to 47 per cent of the country’s GDP.
  • Afghanistan exists within one of the most dangerous regions in the world. While the average regional score for South Asia improved last year, the region still has the second lowest rank, just ahead of its neighbour the Middle East North Africa region.
  • South Asia’s score for every indicator in Ongoing Conflict domain of the Global Peace Index is less peaceful than the global average, with four out of six indicators deteriorating last year. Only deaths from internal conflict improved, with fewer fatalities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India than the year prior. However, the number and duration of internal conflicts fought worsened in Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
  • Afghanistan had the largest deterioration in confidence in the local police, falling by 32 percentage points in the 2019 Global Peace Index.
  • Confidence in the military fell over 31 percentage points in Afghanistan in the last five years, which corresponded with a strong deterioration in peacefulness over the same period.