January 26, 2012

Peace in Afghanistan: A Taliban ‘Rope-a-Dope’ Strategy?

Karl F. Inderfurth a Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who also served as assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs in the Clinton administration (1997-2001). writes for The AFPAK Channel: A Taliban ‘Rope-a-Dope’ Strategy? -

The on-again, off-again effort by the Obama administration to begin preliminary peace talks with the Taliban is still struggling to get off the ground. The first move focuses on a statement by the Taliban against international terrorism and in support of a peace process and the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar. For this the Taliban have called for the release of its prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay.

To garner support for this initiative, the administration's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Marc Grossman, has been traveling in the region, including meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, to make sure he is on board. Afghan officials have expressed concern about the possibility of a ‘secret deal' being struck between the Taliban and the U.S. But that would be unlikely, given the administration's oft-repeated public assurance that it supports an "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" reconciliation process. In fact, what is more likely than a ‘secret deal' is no deal at all.

Earlier high-level efforts by the U.S. government to have ‘peace talks' with the Taliban may be instructive. As Winston Churchill said: "The further back you look, the farther forward you can see."
As we were reminded yesterday, the Taliban has never keep any agreement with us any longer than a few weeks at most and usually they were violating their agreements within hours of pledging to keep them.

All this means, that any chance of a true peace with the loose confederation of groups colelctively called the "Taliban" is really nothing more than a pipe dream in the eyes of the politicians who can't wait for a way out, because the only real way out, the total destrcution of the enemy isn't even being considered as an option and hasn't been an option for several years even.

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