Talking to the Taliban

Via the New York Times:

President Obama declared in an interview that the United States was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.

Mr. Obama pointed to the success in peeling Iraqi insurgents away from more hard-core elements of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a strategy that many credit as much as the increase of American forces with turning the war around in the last two years. "There may be some comparable opportunities in Afghanistan and in the Pakistani region," he said, while cautioning that solutions in Afghanistan will be complicated.

Interesting. Moreso because for over a week Al Jazeera has been reporting that there were secret talks underway in Afghanistan aimed at reaching an entente with some elements of the Taliban.

As the Afghan Foreign Minister met his US counterpart in Washington in late February, Al Jazeera has learnt of secret talks between Taliban-linked mediators and Afghan officials, which could lead to wider negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

The deal involves the return to Afghanistan of Gulbbaldin Hekmatyar, the former Prime Minister, whose forces fight alongside the Taliban. The negogiations involve a complex and delicate round of meetings from the heart of Afghanistan to Dubai, London and Saudi Arabia. From Kabul, James Bays filed the above exclusive report.

More at By The Fault.

Tags: Afghanistan, US Foreign Policy (all tags)

Comments

27 Comments

Oh Lordy...

Expect Beck, Rush and Michael Savage to have an embolism over this one...

"The Taliban, who attacked us on 9/11!!!"

Islamofacists!  Fighting them over there so we don't have to....

On the other hand, you wonder if your average dittohead could find Saudia Arabia on a map, let alone acknowledge the 9/11 hijackers were like Bin Laden himself, a Saudi.

by WashStateBlue 2009-03-07 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Oh Lordy...

from Atlas Shrugs:

President Hussein wants to surrender to the same jihadis who harbored Bin Laden, who kill women, who prohibit girls from attending school, who vow to destroy America.

Worse still, President Hussein has invited Iran to a high-level conference on Afghanistan's future.

He is worse than I even imagined. No pretense. No lip service.

Over at Reliapundit:
ABOARD AIRFORCE ONE, OBAMA TELLS NY TIMES HE MAY APPEASE TALIBAN NYTIMES:

   President Obama declared in an interview that the United States was not Appeaser winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq.

   * I DON'T THINK THAT THE SUNNIFICATION OF OUR EFFORTS IN IRAQ IS AN APT MODEL

   * I GUESS OBAMA REALLY WANTS TO EMULATE THE PAKISTANI REGIME AND APPEASE ISLAMO-FASCISM.

   * THE RESULTS IN SWAT ARE ALREADY HORRIFIC: SHARIA HAS MEANT WOMEN ARE AGAIN TREATED AS SLAVES.

   * OBAMA AND THE PAKIS DON'T CARE.

   * BOTH SCUM.

I'll say this. The President made a mistake. Not in talking to the Taliban but it announcing that he would. He needed to present a fait accompli, an end product, an accomplishment. The negotiations should have been kept secret. Now there will be push back from all sort of places.

by Charles Lemos 2009-03-07 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh Lordy...

No need for alarmism from the Maddow Brigade. The GOP was going to be mean to you anyway. This is no different from the negotiations that Bush carried out in Iraq. If you're afraid of a little criticism from fringe blogs on the right, you should probably turn off the computer and go for a smoke.

by IsaccBurn 2009-03-07 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh Lordy...

Then again, folks like you, who are still half-waging the primary wars, have been an endless source of entertainment with your DIRE WARNINGS of things that never come to fruition, so on second thought, keep it up.

by IsaccBurn 2009-03-07 06:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh Lordy...

And for those, who think I'm being unfair to Mr. Lemos, you may want to read his prior, GOP-cheerleading work: http://www.bythefault.com/2008/05/26/rnc -on-obama-not-ready-to-be-president/

Yes, Mr. Lemos, those mean ole' Republicans sure tore that amateur Obama feller down, didn't they? Anymore brilliant predictions for us?

by IsaccBurn 2009-03-07 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh Lordy...

The record is clear: Mr. Lemos would have chosen 4 more years of Bush over Obama. He said so himself. And he wants to lecture the President about who and who isn't a progressive? Give me a break...

by IsaccBurn 2009-03-07 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh Lordy...

This kind of crap is really tiresome.

by Steve M 2009-03-07 06:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh Lordy...

Since you're so interested in reading my backlog.
October 13, 2008

Congratulations to President Obama

by Charles Lemos 2009-03-07 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Oh Lordy...

I have to say your understanding of politics is rather limited. Politics is dynamic, not static. What I thought on May 26th matters little. What I think today matters more. And if you're interested in seeing my thinking evolve go back to October 13th, 2008 when something Obama said caught my attention.

What precisely in this post upsets you since it is a rather matter of fact reporting with very little if any of my own opinion? Put your opinions on the line and don't hide behind a pseudonym.

The one who seems to want to relive primary wars is you, not I.

by Charles Lemos 2009-03-07 06:58PM | 0 recs
This post

has nothing to do with the primaries.  There hasn't been any of that in Charles Lemos's posts.  Try trolling some actual PUMAs if that's your thing.

by JJE 2009-03-07 08:52PM | 0 recs
Re: and when it leaks?

That's a fair point, you're right, there is a risk of a leak no doubt but think of Nixon and China. Kissinger went twice to China to lay the ground work. At any rate, I spent time this evening poking around various security blogs and found that the British in December 2007/January 2008 helped turn one group of moderate Taliban.

by Charles Lemos 2009-03-07 10:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking to the Taliban

While I agree with lot of decisions administration is making on Iraq, I think this is a flawed philosopy, and will unarguably be a late 80's early 90's type of alliance, which led to rise of terrorism as we know of it today!

by gladiatorsback 2009-03-07 12:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking to the Taliban

Maybe folks should carefully examine what the US and our CIA have done in the Middle East in the last sixty years or so:

1. overthrew the Iranian democracy and replaced it with the vile and murderous dictator Shah.

2. installed the Baath party in Iraq in the late 1960s, replaced a "pro-Soviet Union" military government. With our help Saddam Hussein came to power.

3. in the 1980s, President Reagan and our lovely CIA helped train, fund and arm right-wing peasants in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet-supported government which was actually doing some things to help the average Afghani.
These same right wing peasants finally drove out the troops from the Soviet Union. They evolved into the present Taliban. Of course, we wanted to build an oil pipeline across Afghanistan and the Taliban had the unmitigated gall to say. "No."

The USA should just butt out of the Middle East.

by Oval12345678 2009-03-07 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking to the Taliban

Personally, I think making a deal with the Taliban is about as productive as making a deal with Republicans... you're not going to get anywhere, and even if you do, they'll "change the terms" at the last minute and betray you in the end anyways...

This idea can be sold to the public, but it won't be easy.  More importantly, I don't know how well this will work.

by LordMike 2009-03-07 02:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking to the Taliban

It is important to understand that the Taliban are not a single entity. The Taliban is an umbrella organization composed of numerous tribal groups. The word itself means "student". They are largely Pashtun and "graduates" of the madrassas. Most of the Afghan Taliban seem to follow the teachings of Mullah Omar, the blind cleric of Kandahar now in exile in Quetta.

Also remember, the Pashtun are traders and smugglers. They can be bought.

by Charles Lemos 2009-03-07 04:03PM | 0 recs
Finally...

a strategy that has a finite chance of success.

And like you, I am wondering if he will be thwarted in his attempts by his side...

by Ravi Verma 2009-03-07 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Talking to the Taliban

I am surprised that some people here think that negotiating with the Taleban has chance of success!! We have gone on this path before, some misguided people here have tried this earlier and even after 9/11 the Bush government even promised to turn a blind eye if they handed over bin Laden. Problem with the Taleban is that they are not just a theocracy but a totalitarian regime that acts as a magnet for other people professing their view around the world, which means intolerance towards women, arts, sports, culture, other religion, diversity and not least promote terrorism under their umbrella. Bad idea.

by tarheel74 2009-03-07 03:35PM | 0 recs
We should be talking to moderate Afghans

just not members of the Taliban. They are Islamofascist terrorists who would destroy Western culture and our way of life. Giving them legitimacy in the eyes of the world would be a mistake. I say fight a little longer, and once we've won a few victories, maybe talk to a provisional goverment we set up and support. Keep troops there to keep order, as we should have after the Soviet withdrawal, but no pipeline talks.

by Lakrosse 2009-03-07 05:38PM | 0 recs
In other words

more of the same strategy that has failed so far.

by JJE 2009-03-07 06:52PM | 0 recs
what our American President has done:

put 17,000 more troops in there to finish the job. And stop playing down Islamofascist terror.

by Lakrosse 2009-03-07 10:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Finish what job?

Considering only 4% of Afghanis want the Taliban in charge, the question is sorta moot.

by Steve M 2009-03-07 10:45PM | 0 recs
Re: How the hell can you poll that country

I dunno dude.  The Asia Foundation manages to poll it too...

by Steve M 2009-03-08 05:47AM | 0 recs
nrafter is right

it's hard enough to take an accurate poll in the United States...you can't poll the people of Afghanistan and get an honest opinion out of them...many of them don't even live in houses. It's ridiculous to think you can get an accurate poll of what the feeling is in that country.

by DTOzone 2009-03-09 12:21AM | 0 recs
Re: nrafter is right

Right, you feel this conclusion deep in your gut, I can tell.  Is there some reason people who don't live in houses are considered less truthful, by the way?

by Steve M 2009-03-10 05:15PM | 0 recs
I'll trust the polls more

than a group which is undemocratic altogether, especially when more than one polling firm finds the same result. Its very hard for the people to fight the Taliban the same way its hard for Mexico to fight its drug cartels:they have the weapons, the people don't. Islamofascism after, doesn't represent the majority of Muslims, right? I trust it doesn't.

by Lakrosse 2009-03-08 07:45AM | 0 recs
How long

do you think we should stay there and fight the Taliban? 5 more years? 10? 100 if it takes that?

Also, do you think 17,000 is enough or do we need to send more.

Honest questions.

by DTOzone 2009-03-09 12:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Talking to the Taliban

I hope this is step in the right direction.

by erinrichie 2009-03-07 11:41PM | 0 recs

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