Withdrawal symptoms: America-Taliban talks
<music> hello and welcome to the intelligence on economist radio. I'm your host jason palmer every weekday we we provide a fresh perspective on the events shaping your world every year as many as twenty million people get saticoy d- fever about one hundred sixty thousand die most of them children and the bacteria that causes it on increasingly resistant to antibiotics. We take a look at a promising new vaccine and we hop on the world's shortest scheduled flight which could soon also be the world's greenest. It takes longer to describe described journey than to make it but i for the past year american officials and the afghan militants of the taliban have been holding talks. The goal has been to help afghans achieve peace. Afghans are yearning for peace that had been what in that country for forty years the american envoy the negotiations zalmay to make spoke last month to georgetown institute for women peace and security about the goal of ending america's longest conflict. We also have been involved in a award for some eighteen years who would like to end this war. We associate ourselves with aspirations of the afghan people and this week in cutter. There was news of a breakthrough. Mr khalilzad declared the two sides had made excellent progress toward the deal the essence of eighties to thinks thanks america is going to pull out its troops lots of them to begin with and then the rest on some kind of schedule that will be public and we'll have probably some conditions attached sean. Joshi is the economists defense editor in return. The taliban will agree to sever their ties to terrorist organizations international terrorist organizations innovations like al qaeda and they will agree that afghanistan won't be used for attacks against america or other countries in other words they will address the problem that led america conveyed back in two thousand and one so that's the essence of it but of course in practice things more complicated. There are other things that america wants. We don't know how many troops the americans will pull aloud how quickly they'll do so and we don't know how they will enforce the talibans promises and and is there a sense that the taliban is is committed to severing its ties with terrorist organizations like al qaeda. We don't fully know i mean some people would say the taliban terrorists of course <hes>. We've only just this week had a major attacking couple. Perhaps attributed to the taliban which engineer nearly one hundred people so that's that's pretty bad. I think i would point out that the taliban al qaeda <hes> very different groups at the taliban more directly focused based on afghanistan of course they have basis next door in pakistan but their nationalist organization they're focused on afghan territory al qaeda's global organization focused on what they would recall the far enemy out outside powers western states america however of course it's more complicated than that. If you look at the taliban leadership structure you see some of the very senior senior figures are members of organization. That's called the connie network which is a militant organization backed by pakistan and that in turn has really close ties to al al-qaeda so what some other people will say what skeptics will say is that the taliban talk a good game but actually they are part and parcel of these international jihadist movements they share members they share resources and actually it's very very difficult to disentangle these things so it cleared that america does wants to get out of aghanistan it and but what what will result what does afganistan without american troops on the ground look pretty bad. The afghan national security forces which currently have thousands of american eric trump's backing them in afghanistan. They still lose about fifty people a day right now to put that in context america has lost fifteen soldiers in afghanistan all all year so far so they are suffering very badly indeed the taliban control more territory than at any point since the war began they feel the military momentum is with them them and so if america pull out i think a lot of people fair that the afghan state particularly if america would pull its financial support that it would be overrun. They simply wouldn't able to survive the taliban say they want a complete islamic system. We don't know quite what that means and even if that's not quite the theocratic despotism that we saw in afghanistan before two thousand and one what a very clear that they will demand changes to the constitution they will demong changes to women's rights it will involve very substantial changes to the political and social order of afghanistan and i think that scares a great number of afghans not least the current crop of politicians who've got used to having power now for eighteen gene is so what's america doing to win them over to allay those fears well. We talked about two elements. If the plan so america pulls out the taliban make anti-terror promises those two things really allows how's the west and the taliban there to other elements that <hes> <hes> zalmay khalilzad also wants from the taliban and those two other elements of very important one of them is is a permanent cease file but the other one and this is really fundamental is the idea that once america and the taliban agreed agreed to a deal then you turn over to what's called intra-afghan <unk> afghan talks in other words. The taliban will then have to sit down and talk to the afghan government themselves now. That's very very difficult. Why is that the harder part. It's a heart pa calls the taliban refused to recognize the afghan government they consider them puppets of the americans and illegitimate and total sham and of course they feel winning on the battlefield why give legitimacy to this government that they feel i is un-islamic and shouldn't be recognized and taught because so far. We've discussed things that both sides want. The americans want to get out and quickly as possible. Some people told me in fact that they've already agreed the big troop cuts is going to happen. They just need to put a sort of fig leaf on it now. The intra-afghan talks a bit between the taliban and the afghan government they will have to decide things like what's going to to be the new afghan constitution. What's going to be the role of the taliban. Will they disarm what will be the role of afghan security forces and intelligence services will they include include islamist fighters. What's going to be the role for women's rights for schools. All of these things have to be hashed out between these people who have not don't really spoken to each other in eighteen years of than in very fleeting unofficial encounters back channel talks and so on that will have to start and it'll have to take place very quickly. Why after eighteen years do things have to suddenly happen. Quickly will only because president trump wants them to happen quickly but also because afghan elections are approaching you you can have afghan elections at the end of september so now america's original plan was to say he's a deal <hes>. Let's hash everything out before the elections and perhaps that means. We won't even have to hold the elections because everyone is terrified. They will be overshadowed by violence. The taliban has said they will attack the elections. <hes> they will be overshadowed by botched vote counting and electoral barrel processors that the parliamentary elections last year where so that one of the major problems you want them. You want this deal ideally done before the elections but that's going to be really hard god. It won't be a complete deal. It will be a roadmap and so that still leaves the problem of whoever wins the elections they are going to have to deal with this issue in lead these talks and if that person has won election in a way that is messy or contested is extremely hard for them to have the authority to negotiate big sweeping changes to the afghan constitution in a way that is accepted by most afghans john. Thank you very much for coming in. Thank you in the rich world. The disease typhoid fever was largely eliminated when clean water became the norm elsewhere. That isn't the case just having the bacteria in a very eighty densely populated urban slum where sanitation is poor people live in close proximity what supply may be contaminated and importantly street foods uncontaminated doctors car. Buddha is a pediatrics professor in the large port. City of karachi in pakistan is the perfect storm in terms of a a disorder that rapidly becomes say minneapolis simic. Dr buddha is accustomed to receiving typhoid patients usually children in recent years what we've been gene experiencing particularly the last few years starting from pakistan. It's a screen of typhoid which is recent almost every known oral antibiotic that we have symptoms begin with fever and can escalate rapidly. Small children are particularly vulnerable so typhoid can lead to sepsis or septic shock chocolate condition which in children <hes> has its potala too much higher than that and for a disease largely unknown in the rich world. The numbers affected are significant around the world somewhere between eleven twenty million people yet typhoid fever and <hes> of these <hes> <hes> about one hundred and sixty thousand die mostly children <hes> in asia and bits of africa. Natasha loader is the economists health policy editor. This figure vigor is looking likely to increase because of some new strains of extremely drug resistant typhoid which were merging antibiotics which he used is to sort of combat. This fever have been overused really because people been thankful that any fever could be typhoid so <hes> this is how the extremely drug resistant distant forms have emerged so what was really needed was a vaccine a vaccine that could be given to children <hes> because that's not the case now. Existing vaccines can't be given to children. I'm once thrived which is very exciting. Where where did you find out about this vaccine. Recently i went to the gates foundation and i talked to a doctor anita's eighty who director of vaccine development that but now the world is running out of -biotics and so is going to be the one illness which is it's a very common in this <hes> that that children anybody is exposed to them which will run out of antibiotic treatment options and in fact. We have a very big outbreak happening in pakistan all right so a few years ago the foundation decided to investigate the possibility of vaccine would be safe for use in children of six month's unlike the current vaccines and they actually found a vaccine that had been developed twenty years ago by american researchers at the national institutes of health but it it had been left on the shelf largely it had been licensed to an indian company but there's sort of large-scale recession testing safety and efficacy that needed to be done. Hadn't i've been done so doctors. Alien colleagues pushed it through the testing that was needed and a bunch of studies on it. Including one that gave <hes> live typhoid bacteria. Get students active was easy boards into the u._k. Right we have to actually go through a lot of hoops to afford this vaccine to the give it to students. Ah give this vaccine to students to guinea pigs students. Yes they so they tested it. In britain which is a good place to test typhoid vaccine waxing because there's no typhoid here <hes> so there's no natural resistance and what they did was they gave live salmonella typhi bacterium in a drink to these volunteers lantis on each of whom who had had one of the different vaccines in three three arms to the trial and of course they were able to use this test has to figure out how effective this new vaccine walls and along with other tests as well and they reckon. It's about ninety percent effective so what happens now well. It's all quite exciting. This has gone so much faster than we were expecting so now. We have to do the same thing as the vaccine does need to go through. Uh more tasks over a period of time. The existence of the outbreak extremely drug resistant typhoid has meant that we've had to sort of move forward a little bit more quickly klay than we might otherwise have done with lush cow vaccinations and they've already vaccinated one hundred thousand children in pakistan in an initial phase and and a total of two hundred thousand doses of this vaccine taipa t._v. has been sent and gavin <hes> the vaccine lines <hes> the group that purchases actresses <hes> vaccines for developing countries has already committed to spending eighty-five million dollars on the vaccine and what they intend to do with that is to new routinely immunize children easing the vaccine in home variety of countries where typhoid is endemic live. There's focused on india nepal nigeria ghana kenya uganda just about all of these countries reporting thing what's really exciting about the vaccine is that it's going to often opportunity to really drive down <hes> rights of typhoid in asia and parts of africa africa. The conclusion is <hes> vaccines good. I suppose the the the sort of irony there is in various parts of the world there is there's vaccines are bad kind of <hes> kind of movement. It must be frustrating to see this kind of success story and then know that elsewhere in the world perfectly gli functional perfectly. Good vaccines are being shunned. It's it is fascinating. If you look at the pictures of the vaccination centers in pakistan you z. accused cues mothers and children lining up to be vaccinated because they know that this vaccine is life saving and it is it is a bit aside actually when you sort of see these outbreaks of measles all around the world causing sort of devastation is really so pointless for dr buddha working with children with typhoid in pakistan. The vaccine could make a huge difference. <hes> the use of acceding judiciously in the right walk relations unst control the outbreak and provide bo pollution immunities also import on the other hand. People don't get typhoid in places with clean water. He also wants governments to invest in water infrastructure and for people to wash their hands so i think it's absolutely important that one has a holistic solution problem which is in the form of strategies and measures that governments public health officials and civic society which means families families need to undertake but equally important so it's important not to put all your eggs in one basket and the orkney islands are off the northeast coast of scotland scotland. They're known for their striking natural beauty and ancient settlements. They have another claim to fame was on bubba western. It's a small island at the remote north eastern end of the orkneys. The maroney is the economists roving britain correspondent and i went to the apple which was a hut. Lynn shows up to propellers atas eight seats in minivan style seating. I get on this plane. Sit directly behind the cockpit and we take off <music> boat a minute and a half later. We learned this is this whole flight took him in and half this flayed from upper west. Eh neighboring much bigger island actually of west rate is two point seven kilometers long which is shorter than either one of heathrow's runways. It is according to the guinness book of records the shortest flight in the world so that's the whole purpose of this flight is is just to be the shortest i mean why would anybody take this light so do islands in the orkneys upper western norton auden role seed don't have bills so when ferries coach they go pretty infrequently anyway people board and disembark the ferries with boots and that's a bit dodgy in bad weather uh and as you can imagine the weather in remote northeastern corner of scotland is not create about seventy five lights a week or operation between the islands and lost austin twenty. One thousand passengers use them. The dini tiny short flight is actually hop on the way back to goodwill which is the biggest settlement in the orkneys janis think about like a bus a bus starts in central london and goes far out to ease longer stops places picking up and dropping off passengers along and we and that's what these planes do and how about the economics of of a two minute flight as a workout. It is not economic. I mean it's you know it doesn't really really make sense to run and so the council has stated i paid seventeen bones to go from bubble mystery assuming i had just bought a ticket all the way back to sukuk what would have been eighteen months but the council jackson and extra roughly forty-six pounds per person trip adding up to annual subsidy of boeta million pounds and so these tiny little flights on these tiny little planes. They're gonna continue to see for myself. Yes absolutely you might consider the environmental ramifications asian to flying all the way up to the north of scotland in order to take another flight. I mean that is morally questionable but it is possible for you to do. Yes however if it eases your conscience. Jason work is underway to electrify these planes. The biggest problem with electrifying planes is range. You can't go extremely long distances and says because you have to carry a lot of batteries becomes heavy becomes impractical these planes used for these really short journeys twenty minutes fifteen minutes two minutes which means that they can relatively easily be electrified in about two or three years hoping to put them into service so you can actually go all the way up and then field or the pleased about the fact that you're causing a a little almost no environmental <hes> at all especially since the orkneys produce ammo wind bowed and the news so the shortest flight could soon be the greenest flight indeed. Thanks very much for your time <music>. That's all for this episode assode of the intelligence. If you like give us a rating on apple podcasts and you can subscribe to the economists at economist dot com slash radio often issues for twelve dollars or twelve pounds. See you back here on monday aw.