Talking with the Taliban Essential to Ending Violence

The war in Afghanistan, which began after 9/11 in 2001 and has dragged on for nine years now, is reaching its “endgame,” according to American insiders — an endgame accompanied by contradictory developments that sometimes seem bizarre.

Although attacks on the Taliban have increased — between June and September, almost 50 percent more bombs and rockets were fired at them than in the same period last year — Taliban leaders are, at the same time, enabled by NATO troops to travel unhindered to Kabul. There, they participate in peace talks with the government of President Hamid Karzai.

The contrast between fighting and talking is, to some extent, a sham. The intensified offensive against the Taliban most certainly has the goal of weakening the Taliban to the point that Islamic rebels will see no other choice but to negotiate. That such negotiations are unavoidable has also been acknowledged by successive American commanders: A sheer military victory is impossible; the Taliban are too deeply rooted in this country for that.

The talks with the Taliban, taking place under the direction of former Afghan president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, give rise to both hope and fear. An end to the violence is what everyone wishes for the Afghans; for that to happen, it unfortunately goes without saying that some kind of compromise with the Taliban is necessary.

Obama has announced the start, in July of 2011, of troop withdrawal; the chance is nil that the Taliban will have been defeated by then. So, talking is necessary, but at what price? The realization that a deal with the Taliban is virtually impossible without violating the civil rights of Afghans — particularly those of women — engenders bitterness, which can be swallowed, only with the knowledge that a military fight that goes on for years does not lead to a better position.

NATO has assumed long-term responsibility for Afghanistan. Nevertheless, after the expulsion of al-Qaida, goals remain that, in the end, cannot be attained with foreign military commitment: democratization, respect for women, transparent governance. A pact, if it happens, needs to end the armed fight, not the commitment of NATO countries for a better Afghanistan.

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  1. The very concept of tangling with Afghanistan appears wrong. Bush reacted to Al Qaida in a rage. Earlier he invaded Iraq without a game plan. Now Iran is posing as a headache to America. The Middle East and Central Asia simply needs a turnaround through a peaceful and friendly transition from history’s backwater to the first world. Come Israel in the picture as a troublesome stranger backed by the strong Jewish lobby in America. In contrast the emerging China is eyeing potential opportunities to grab fat contracts to boost is economy keeping itself at a distance from America’s deep involvement in the pursuits that are proving counter productive? Israel has got its mask removed to becoming a Jewish state. Israel’s founding father Ben-Gurion categorically rejected allegiance to God at the founding ceremony, replacing it with a secular obscure symbol of the “Rock of Israel.” This was a blasphemy in the sight of the Rabbis and the honest-to-God Jewish community. Jewish history is already full of acts of iniquity. This time Zionists have blatantly abandoned God from Judaism. Jews are woefully disillusioned and they feel this as a bad omen for Israel. Israel’s strategic ally of America has now proved a smokescreen for advancing the Zionists own interests. In the process America’s image is badly tainted in the Middle East and Israel proving a drag and a drain on American economy. America needs better understanding in its policy framework of Middle Eastern Arabs as well as of the Muslim dominated central Asia. China is quietly digging its heals in the whole Muslim world with a long haul policy. It is building a railway network in Saudi Arabia, which is nearing completion. In Pakistan it has built a deep seaport at Gwadar as a gateway to the Central Asian Republics that are a treasure chest of the untapped mineral wealth. China has signed a contract of 72 billion dollars with Iran for supply of Liquid Gas through the land route. Iran is no threat to anyone but itself. More on this some other time. Britain called it a “Honey Pot” and that is what it is. Afghanistan’s importance lies in its becoming a conduit to trade and commerce and this transition would have no room for the terrorist Al Qaida supporting the bigoted Taliban. America needs this simple equation to understand and a new dawn would take place in both Middle East and Afghanistan. Alone neither China nor America can deliver. Why not both join forces and give an immediate boost to their economies?

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