Ben Acheson

Expert in Peace Processes. Entering a third year working in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.

Ben Acheson is an expert in peace processes, with direct experience negotiating with armed groups in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. His peace work is backed by a background in strategic intelligence and geopolitical analysis with a specific focus on the Iran, Pakistan, Russia and India.
Stop Asking The Taliban To

Stop Asking The Taliban To Surrender

The first pre-requisite for any genuine Afghan peace process is reshaping the surrender-narrative. The term 'peace' itself must be reclaimed so that it is no longer viewed with suspicion or equated to surrender and weakness. Those who are hostile to it become comfortable with it.
18/09/2017 17:26 BST
No Military Solution And No Negotiations In Afghanistan - So What

No Military Solution And No Negotiations In Afghanistan - So What Next?

The Taliban will not be defeated militarily. This is an unfortunate reality, but a reality it is. It does not mean that Afghanistan is 'lost'. It means that 'winning the war' can no longer be the guiding principle for policymakers. The collective commitment must now be 'winning the peace'.
14/08/2017 12:34 BST
Independent Scotland Will Be Rudely Awakened From Its Euro

Independent Scotland Will Be Rudely Awakened From Its Euro Dreams

For years, questions were asked about Scotland's EU status if a Yes vote transpired. The European Commission repeatedly refused to answer the 'accession versus succession' issue, not wanting to deal in 'what if' situations or influence anyone's democratic decision. So succession was always a possibility because everything is technically a possible if there is no definite confirmation of its impossibility. Confirmation or not, there were still warnings about the hurdles and potential EU-related costs accompanying Scotland's separation from the UK.
27/08/2014 16:58 BST
A Vote for Sinn Féin Is a Vote for

A Vote for Sinn Féin Is a Vote for Poverty

Admittedly, that is a slightly sensationalist statement, but let's look at the facts. Forget highly-charged diatribes about United Irelands or United Kingdoms. Forget histrionic republicanism, flag-waving unionism and arguments about terrorists and freedom fighters. Take bigotry, ideology, and romanticism out of it.
30/04/2014 17:00 BST
Doomed: Nigel Farage, UKIP and the Battle for

Doomed: Nigel Farage, UKIP and the Battle for Brussels

It's all about UKIP. It always has been. They've made a routinely uneventful and uninspiring process the political event to watch. Thanks to them, this year's European election cycle will be the most exciting, or the least boring, ever.
15/04/2014 16:45 BST
Being part of the EU is GOOD for the

Being part of the EU is GOOD for the UK

Cross-border telecommunications are cheaper and easier after the EU abolished national monopolies for fixed-line services. The price of phonecalls has plummeted. Since 2000, the cost of a 10-minute call within the EU has fallen by an average of 74%...
08/04/2014 16:04 BST
Speed-Dating for Toddlers: A Solution to Britain's Adoption

Speed-Dating for Toddlers: A Solution to Britain's Adoption Crisis?

In an ideal world, nobody would need to be adopted, but this is not an ideal world. Adoption parties cannot prevent a child being taken into care, but they can help take them out of care. They give 'hard-to-place' children a greater chance of placement. They tackle some endemic problems in the adoption process.
24/03/2014 12:10 GMT
Scottish Independence: It's All About

Scottish Independence: It's All About Trust

Politics is about running a country, or at least trying to get into Government in order to run a country. That is why there is one question that really matters if you are voting in Scotland's independence referendum. Can the Scottish Government be trusted to run a country? Providing an answer is no easy task. You could argue that the SNP has been in power since 2007 and the country has not imploded, but you could claim that total implosion is unlikely as it is propped up by the UK Government. Either way, the unprecedented nature of the debate makes judging on track records a potentially perilous endeavour.
19/02/2014 22:34 GMT
Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Adoptees' Worst Fear Will Likely Come

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Adoptees' Worst Fear Will Likely Come True

What if Valentine's Day, or relationships in general, were a stark reminder of the most painful and distressing events that you ever experienced? What if they triggered a trauma so terrifically challenging that it forever altered your approach to life? Welcome to Valentine's Day, and relationships, for adoptees.
13/02/2014 17:28 GMT
Scottish Independence, the EU and the Rebate

Scottish Independence, the EU and the Rebate Debate

Let's not digress into white paper bashing though, plenty of others have excoriated it already. The point is that Scotland's monumental decision is on the horizon and too many crucial questions remain unanswered... The future of a nation cannot be decided on conjecture and supposition alone. We need answers.
02/02/2014 22:41 GMT
Disaster Unfolding in the World's Forgotten Prison

Disaster Unfolding in the World's Forgotten Prison Camp

What would life be like in a prison camp? We can postulate about dirty, cramped conditions but few of us will ever experience anything remotely resembling such an ordeal. It is even hard to imagine. The only given is that we would live in hope of being liberated from our nightmare. We would expect to be rescued as quickly as humanly possible.
13/01/2014 12:50 GMT
Victory for Ukip Is Meaningless for

Victory for Ukip Is Meaningless for Europe

Farage himself predicted an "earthquake" while other prominent right wingers envisage "the liberation from the European elite, the monster in Brussels". So are they correct? Their success would certainly send a shockwave across the continent but are we really about to find ourselves at the mercy of the most anti-EU, combatively euro-sceptic European Parliament to date? No.
06/01/2014 17:11 GMT
Iran and the West: From Nuclear Nightmares to Facebook

Iran and the West: From Nuclear Nightmares to Facebook Friends?

Nuclear apocalypse has been avoided. Iran has agreed to curb its nuclear activity. That's what they tell us anyway. Let's not get ahead of ourselves; even if Iran's cooperation is genuine, world leaders and their Iranian counterparts are not about to hold hands, hug it out or start tweeting funny cat memes to each other.
16/12/2013 11:32 GMT
Genetic Sexual Attraction: What Is Reuniting

Genetic Sexual Attraction: What Is Reuniting Igniting?

Incest; is there anything more shudderingly repulsive? The internet may have desensitised us to many formerly unspeakable acts, but sexual relations between family members are still morally repugnant and utterly disturbing... Or are they?
12/12/2013 13:41 GMT
'Gay' Is Just an

'Gay' Is Just an Adjective

Anyone who grasps the issues knows that the adopters are not (normally) the cause of the child's trauma. The most devastating trauma stems from the splitting of parent and child. Adoptees are afflicted by separation trauma. There is no such thing as 'given-to-gays' trauma.
13/11/2013 12:07 GMT
Drones: Life-Savers or

Drones: Life-Savers or Life-Takers?

To brand the entire technology as 'immoral' is unfair. The drone debate must be approached with reason, not hijacked by the same type of short-sighted, hysterical activists whose blind, misguided ideology focuses more banning every type of human development which, with refinements, could actually aid some of their own overarching aims. Most people partner drones with the 'War on Terror' in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, but the technology actually dates back to 1917 when the Hewitt-Sperry Automatic Airplane made its maiden flight in the United States.
10/11/2013 23:14 GMT
Human Trafficking: the First Gender-Equal

Human Trafficking: the First Gender-Equal Industry

The human trafficking industry - already the most profitable international criminal enterprise after the drugs and arms trades - is posting higher profits than ever. In 2005, UN estimated that it was a $32billion per year industry, based on International Labor Organization estimates that 20.9 million people suffered from forced slavery.
04/11/2013 15:49 GMT