December 30, 2010

Talking to the Taliban from A Battlefield Tourist by David Tate

A Battlefield Tourist: Talking to the Taliban -
There is little doubt that in order to progress in Afghanistan the Taliban will have to be involved in negotiations with the government, and whether directly or not, leadership within the International Security Assistance Force.

The fact is, those fighting coalition forces are not so much Al Qaeda as they are young hired guns or nationalistic Pashtuns concerned their culture is under attack from the west. The enemy that the coalition has been pursuing has changed, and so must efforts to fix the problem.

As I’ve always espoused, there are no simple fixes in this country, nor is there just one solution. Afghanistan is a puzzle that requires patience and an unorthodox vision for success. Part of that success, no matter how you slice it, will require the cooperation of “The Taliban”.

That in itself presents a huge challenge. ‘Who is the Taliban?’ should be the first question asked. When you see that noun tossed around the media in such a blanket fashion, you couldn’t be blamed for believing “The Taliban” is just one organization… and they are not.

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