The talks have to be transparent. No secret deals. As anyone who has worked in Afghanistan knows only too well, grassroots Afghans believe they have been badly duped by the donor countries starting with the top-down Bonn talks at the end of 2001.
Then came the Emergency Loya Jirgha (Grand Assembly) in July 2002, when the Americans shattered public confidence by involving the discredited warlords, some responsible for war crimes. Even more disastrous, Washington sidelined Zahir Shah, the aging former king and only figurehead leader capable of rallying Afghans behind a genuine recovery process.