Battle for legitimacy: Afghanistan v the Taliban


This economists podcast is sponsored by linked in jobs. Hello and welcome to the intelligence on economist radio. I'm your host Jason Palmer every weekday. We provide a fresh perspective on the events. Shaping your world. A list of the world's self made female billionaires reveals a curious. Fact, lots of them are Chinese. We look at the Mao era, attitudes that pave the way for China's billionaire S's, white seems there will be fewer of them in the future. And Barack Obama is laying the groundwork for his presidential library. Every former president has a site in their honor, but what are they are? Caves tourist attractions, PR factories. We take a look at why there frequently so controversial. But I. Afghan militants and American officials sat down for their latest round of negotiations in Qatar last week, even as violence continued almost eighteen years since merica and other NATO members invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban is still a powerful and lethal force. Earlier this month an attack by the insurgency group on an American run compound in Kabul, spread chaos and left at least five people dead. In response to the unrelenting violence, America and its allies are now, negotiating with the Taliban seeking withdrawal in exchange for commitment from the group, not harbor terrorists on the ground in Afghanistan are plenty of clues as to why the Taliban has been so hard to beat. So I found myself at this truck stop outside candidate city in southern Afghanistan know, sat on rug of the t there was this kind of enormous storm coming in Daniels is an international correspondent, at the economist, he's been recently reporting enough ghanistan, and these guys told me about what it's like to drive across Afghanistan, they drove all over the country carrying goods. And they, you know, they told me about how they get stopped all the time. By with guns. They get stopped by the Taliban and they get stopped by the Afghan army. And by the police, and what they told me is that, you know, difference between the two, you know, both groups are guys with guns who wanna take money from you. But when you get stopped by the Taliban, there's a kind of fixed fees, they, they look at what you've got and they charge you a fee and they give you a receipt, and you can charge that to your customers. Whereas the government is different. They stop you every time and they just take whatever they can they rob you? So you know what that told me is that the Taliban kind of more organized in some ways than the Afghan government. And that's a problem. And why, why were you in Afghanistan, what were you trying to find out what I wanted to? Find out is why of the eighteen years and almost a trillion dollars and so much support the reason to government in Afghanistan that sort of capable of holding territory that with all the backing of a superpower. Why is it that the Afghan states is not able to win the war with this kind of ragtag group? Taliban. And so you went to kinda hard to find out. Yeah. So I went to Kandahar, and I went to Kabul and Kabul, I met governments fficials and diplomats and people who trying to do this from the top, and then in Kandahar, and I went tonight, talk to ordinary people lorry-drivers and police officers Newsom officials to see kind of their how basil things at the ground level. And what did you learn? So one person I went to see was the governor guy could hire to the higher anything to. He just recently arrived in Kandahar. He's sort of in charge of trying to, to make this place work. And he's very insistent about how important Kandahar is to Afghanistan. The heart is key. If Kandahar is safe of montesano safe it come to hurry, stabilize. So it's devised. He points out that this is really the heart of Afghanstan a place where the first true independent, Afghan state emerged in the eighteenth, century. It's also where the Taliban themselves came from the nineteen nineties Muller, Omar, who is the leader of the Taliban lived in Kandahar. You visited Kabul twice when the Alabama and control it was really one of those places that they, they were adamant in two thousand and one that they would hold onto and NATO troops invaded. And, and so this ambitious new governor, what's, what's his plan. What he talks about the need to recreate the relationship between the government and people make people trust the government and give them reason. To back the government, as opposed to the Taliban was assigned to come here to bring or establish that relation between the central government and, and Kandahar thing relation was a bit weak. He you know, he concedes some real problems in can how that, that the government is not very countable that things need to change. We have people here were here for the last seventeen or eighteen years and are not capable of their jobs, as far as the income is concerned. I think the whole thing is not going into the government pockets, you can see that the Taliban that they have their support that they influential would, you mean when you say that they have influence in, in LeBron's like Kandahar, what do they actually control in terms of actual control in Canada? How the Taliban, they didn't have that much territory, daring control of, but there's sort of a lot more. Influential in places that are not in control of so they're able to mount attacks and plums. And things, but they're also able to work with farmers is a lot of people growing opium in Canada. Opium poppies, which they sell to Taliban middlemen, who, who often do things like provide seek capital who helped people grow, so that they can take chunk of the prophets later, they quite organized in that sense. And that stretches even beyond the parts of the country that they control. And I suppose with this level of organization. And if you like community involvement, that, that gives them a lot of legitimacy notwithstanding, the violent part, I mean, legitimacy is quite strong, but they more legitimate than the government, and that sort of all that they need to be. They're not popular Taliban people don't like them, but they will turn to them, because they're so dissatisfied with the actual government as these talks with America play out and discussion turns to, to draw down from from American troops. How do you think Dr would respond? What would it look like? So that's the big open question is just what happens. So the Afghan government if the support, it's getting from America is disappears, or is, is reduced a lot. They really rely on kind of American military support to be able to still controlled territory. And I think the, the big fear is that the Taliban be able to come back, they'll be able to take a lot more territory. There'd be able to really operate more in the open and have a great deal more influence. So if you have a provincial governor kind of admitting that the central government doesn't really have a good grip on place like Canada, Har. What did the officials in Kabul tell you, you know, not everybody says exactly the same thing? But this kind of picture merges of the president, and the president Ashraf Ghani is a guy who seem pretty much everybody thinks he genuinely wants to transform Afghanistan for the better that he's very committed to the idea of having a better government. But at the same time he's kind of a control freak. Can he thinks that he's the only guy with the plan, and he's really tried to centralize power and to, to hold power to make? All the decisions himself. And that has actually weakened, the legitimacy encounter ability of the government out in places like Kandahar. So what's to be done? Then after eighteen years of American support of, of the central government doesn't seem to have done very much and the US now kind of heading for the door. What, what do you think should be done? So I think could Ashraf Ghani. Well, he has to do is recognize that he's not going to have the support that he has had in the, in the pasta and he needs to it out and get people who don't particularly like him right now onside and perhaps, give up some of the pallet that he is kinda hoarded for himself in Kabul. And, you know, only that way, will he be able to kind of come up with a legitimacy that will allow the government to survive? Thank you very much for your time. Thank you very much. In china. The philosophy that success depends on hard work is celebrated don't mean Jew is from a wet can cost family. She was one of seven children. Stephanie Studer is our senior China business correspondent, she's been to meet an entrepreneur, who story though. Remarkable is part of a trend in Chinese business. It was only at the age of thirty that she decided to leave her hometown. She was recently widowed and had a young son, so she up sticks and went to ju- high in the booming south in nineteen ninety and decided to join gree, which was at the time a young state-owned prize. It only just started selling echinacea's and she went door to door selling them for the company. And there are tales of her managing to sell these unit full price in the unusually cold spring of nineteen ninety four. And so she got noticed, she became president of green in two thousand one venture women in twenty twelve and is now the largest maker of air conditioning units in the world and miss dome. Very much the face of female into prize in China. She's really a celebrity. Worth a lot of money. How wealth is estimated at three billion Yuan, which is four hundred forty million dollars until about meeting her where where was that who was with you? We met her at the Greek head poses in junior high. Fact that factory Disney's. Okay. Jack handle town. Very good wonderful, and it's a pretty sparse in place, as you might expect for a company that is still nominally owned by the state is its largest shareholder, also. And her office itself, is small and pretty sober is a portrait of Mao a black and white sketch hanging above her desk, and from her window, she can observe have aust- factory, where the most extraordinary a unit Eunice now being turned out put onto the market ordinary air conditioners. There were pretty cool Tidiane thing, what we were given a tour showroom and they're awesome amazing ones, standalone AC units. The saw glittery have crystal basis, some have revolving roses that rise out of them as the AC unit works. And then the ricin sleeker designs in golds, and Silva's was pretty chillier. Do you highs a pretty humid place? And they kept the temperatures down. What would say about her her sort of horizon fame surprisingly, little, actually, she knew that I was going to ask her about women in business in China, I'm asking about women, but you're not answering about women? Is it not a subject that you like to talk about much should yet? She evaded, almost every one of my questions, I think, as she sees it has sex is relevant to her rise. And from what she told us, she doesn't think about this shit do. So she when I asked her about her rise in a nation run by men, politically. She said men or women fewer up to the challenge. How unusual is his story? Notice unusual, as you might think the her enrich list, which is a Shanghai based outfit that puts out a who's who of the rich weld wide found this year that fifty one of eighty nine self made female billionaires were Chinese, and that's quite remarkable because that's fifty seven percent. Well above that twenty percent share of the world's women who are trying to other female self made alter wealthy. The list is rich in colorful rich, the operative works because on it is a property mogul with a ten billion dollar fortune end at that. His one had the title of richest self made woman in the world. This also Joe, too. When fate of lens technology, who rose from the factory floor, the touch screen Queen who makes them for apple iphones. There's a polyester Queen a soil source Queen paper Queen, and also to women unto men behind Heidi. Lau, which is a very popular chain of hotpot restaurants. So why have Chinese women done so disproportionately well, well, I think when you sat her in China, the most natural comparison to make his with South Korea Japan, and those are both vibrant democracies running on capitalist systems so then what is trying to done differently. Temptation, I think is to put it all down to the gala, -tarian is a move. China's socialist era mouth Adang famously said in nineteen sixty eight women hold up half the sky, which perhaps was into reflection of what was happening at the time. But it was sesame an encouragement in expectation that women should end to the labor force, and that's vastly different. To the social society expectations of South Korean Japan, which to this day struggle with the idea of a working mother. But that's not a sufficient explanation. And I think that the likely reason is China's manufacturing, boom, the not only propelled, it's economic ascent, but also that of its women and in the nineteen eighties the labor force participation rate was at around eighty percent, which is enviable high. And then since then they've done very well at university to at the moment. Fifty six percent of university graduates. All women. Don't have anything to say about the differences between the way things were during the Mao era. And now, yes that was one way that she approached my question about whether things have changed for women in today's China compared to when she rows, would you choose? Jewel, and she said herself times, have changed who woman with a hoop, and she recalled that she lived in a time when resources was scarce, people knew cherish what they had she said, and she made the point that young people now have grown up in a honeypot with the term. She's, so I think that there's a sense from her understandably that she had to brave real hardships that young people now in China simply don't have to face. She leave too. So. Is that to say that the opportunity for women in China? Now is, is, is greater as it is. And, and miss stone, would certainly agree with that it the moment for every ten Chinese men starting a business. Eight women doing the same which is a very high rate by the same token there has been assessing backlash against female entrepreneurs. So even though it's a lower level, many more of them pushing into business they might be finding it hard to rise. So, for instance, a Chinese investor in Beijing, who was speaking in public presentation about his top tips for success said that rule number ten was, I quit. We usually don't invest in female CEO's, and it was encouraging to see the the backlash against this from women men alike. But I was told from female preneurs here. That's this is increasingly common. Stephanie, thank you very much for joining us. Jason. In the latest episode of money talks, our business and finance podcast, a journey around China and America to understand the roots and the future of the trade war. As Gary divorce. Check a business consultant based in Beijing puts it America is just looking for a fair shake everything that the Americans accused the Chinese of happens. Right. So the, the technology transfer intellectual property deaf, there's a lot of the love the more basic day-to-day challenges. And I think the Americans have every right to say, we don't want you steal in all of our developments technology, all that we just want a level playing. That's the Americans aren't looking for an advantage per se. Looking for. Money talks is out every Tuesday. Find it wherever you listen. In February last year. Barack Obama was in Chicago championing. His library cargo. But the ex-president wasn't schilling for donations at a community meeting trying to persuade locals to support the project. It said to be built on twenty acres of land in Jackson park on the city's south side. I'll be back in Chicago. So. Recco, bums presidential library will be built in Jackson pocket plans to be twenty acres. Does Abe CuA is a social media fellow at the economist and there's been some issues with a, so a local pressure group has come forward and Kood an illegal landgrab, because the city has basically given them a ninety nine year lease for ten dollars, and they claim that there's been some dodgy dealings with an have taken the cities court. So what were the plans for the library. What's it going to be, what will it look like in contain the library is essentially going to be a community center. Unlike other libraries that store archives is that she just getting to exhibitions and spaces for the local community instead of having the archive, they're going to digitize all his records and online. So it's very different to usual libraries will, I mean, what, what are the usual, libraries, I have to concede, I haven't been to one say, the libraries, essentially on mediums, so they have exhibitions and they have objects, some of them have replicas oval offices and usually onsite. There are all the presidential records correspondence books, all those sorts of things are usually stored onsite with archivists look after and help people kind of troll three but you say, essentially, they're also like like museums. Yeah. They sometimes can be ridiculous. So in Reagan's library has a massive plane. Hugh needs a replica. The Oval Office. We know what it looks like it's kind of a manifestation of presidential ego. So BJ reportedly off the library, stopped, providing doughnuts and extending opening time because he was really obsessed with attendance figures Nixon in the first iteration of his library, which was privately owned initially framed. Watergate as a conspiracy on the Paul of Democrats to overturn the nineteen seventy two election, Reagan's library, which wasn't privately and actually for number of years, failed to mention the Iran contra scandal, which was a massive scandal in his presidency. So it's kind of funny, how these places are supposed to be the kind of combination of all their life's work, and everything they done in the White House, but it fails to be Watson. Oh, is there. But on the other hand, yes. Well, some people do think that does bring something so they will call me the Obama foundation describes the library as an economic engine for the city. So that definitely some positives. But in a way you can kind of see where this. Group is coming from in terms of handing over about large tract of land to what you're describing as centrally. A manifestation of presidential ego. Definitely, I cooled them basically presidential publicity centers, and it's difficult to Meyer, the idea of taking public space for what is a sensually presidents kind of bloating in the greatness and how great the presidency was in kind of whitewashing, the entire thing, so who foots the Bill, then say the way that the presidential library system usually works is that the president will build their library with funds that they raise themselves and then transfer over to the national archives records association, which is government agency, then they will pay for maintenance. So American tax payers, usually foot, the Bill so these things are clearly not ever without some level of controversy. How do you think it will play out with broke Obama's presidential library? So it stops for now it stopped the building of the library. I think some people are worried that the fact that there's been so much issue in Chicago. He might go back and choose another place. It really remains to be seen. Thanks very much for coming in. Thank you. That's all for this episode of the intelligence. If you like us, give us a rating on apple podcasts and you can subscribe to the economists that economist dot com slash radio. Offer twelve issues for twelve dollars pounds Becker tomorrow.

Coming up next