Taliban in peace talks with Afghan government

Rick Moran
This is not very good news but the fact is, for Afghanistan to progress, they must stop the bloodshed: From CNN:

"Taliban leaders are holding Saudi-brokered talks with the Afghan government to end the country's bloody conflict -- and are severing their ties with al Qaeda, sources close to the historic discussions have told CNN.

The militia, which has been intensifying its attacks on the U.S.-led coalition that toppled it from power in 2001 for harboring Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, has been involved four days of talks hosted by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, says the source.

The talks -- the first of their kind aimed at resolving the lengthy conflict in Afghanistan -- mark a significant move by the Saudi leadership to take a direct role in Afghanistan, hosting delegates who have until recently been their enemies.

They also mark a sidestepping of key "war on terror" ally Pakistan, frequently accused of not doing enough to tackle militants sheltering on its territory, which has previously been a conduit for talks between the Saudis and Afghanistan.

According to the source, fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar -- high on the U.S. military's most-wanted list -- was not present, but his representatives were keen to stress the reclusive cleric is no longer allied to al Qaeda."


The tribes that have been assisting the Taliban by allowing them to build safe areas and bases as well as supplying young fanatics to fill their ranks have, in fact, recently turned against al-Qaeda due to the terrorist's typical heavy handedness.

But has the Taliban leadership sworn off their allegiance to Bin Laden? Even if they have, that doesn't mean they have foresworn their support for terrorism. They still see themselves as enemies of the West and Islam as a philosophy that must dominate the world. In that respect, they could swear off being allied to al-Qaeda all they want, it won't change the fundamental dynamic that they would not be helpful to fostering US and western relations with Afghanistan.

And what of President Karzai? He is caught between a reluctance by NATO to supply enough soldiers to do more than just contain and punish the Taliban and the very real prospect that large portions of his country can be overrun. If the price of peace is taking the Taliban into the government I fear for the stability of Afghanistan. Once inside, the Taliban could quite easily engineer what would amount to a coup and be back on top again.

What of the Pakistani government? Their intelligence service, the ISI created the Taliban and some elements retain their contacts - almost certainly giving them assistance from time to time. If the Taliban is still the creature of the ISI, you would expect nothing good to come from that relationship as far as Afghanistan is concerned.

Not a very encouraging state of affairs at the moment in Afghanistan.

 

This is not very good news but the fact is, for Afghanistan to progress, they must stop the bloodshed: From CNN:

"Taliban leaders are holding Saudi-brokered talks with the Afghan government to end the country's bloody conflict -- and are severing their ties with al Qaeda, sources close to the historic discussions have told CNN.

The militia, which has been intensifying its attacks on the U.S.-led coalition that toppled it from power in 2001 for harboring Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, has been involved four days of talks hosted by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, says the source.

The talks -- the first of their kind aimed at resolving the lengthy conflict in Afghanistan -- mark a significant move by the Saudi leadership to take a direct role in Afghanistan, hosting delegates who have until recently been their enemies.

They also mark a sidestepping of key "war on terror" ally Pakistan, frequently accused of not doing enough to tackle militants sheltering on its territory, which has previously been a conduit for talks between the Saudis and Afghanistan.

According to the source, fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar -- high on the U.S. military's most-wanted list -- was not present, but his representatives were keen to stress the reclusive cleric is no longer allied to al Qaeda."


The tribes that have been assisting the Taliban by allowing them to build safe areas and bases as well as supplying young fanatics to fill their ranks have, in fact, recently turned against al-Qaeda due to the terrorist's typical heavy handedness.

But has the Taliban leadership sworn off their allegiance to Bin Laden? Even if they have, that doesn't mean they have foresworn their support for terrorism. They still see themselves as enemies of the West and Islam as a philosophy that must dominate the world. In that respect, they could swear off being allied to al-Qaeda all they want, it won't change the fundamental dynamic that they would not be helpful to fostering US and western relations with Afghanistan.

And what of President Karzai? He is caught between a reluctance by NATO to supply enough soldiers to do more than just contain and punish the Taliban and the very real prospect that large portions of his country can be overrun. If the price of peace is taking the Taliban into the government I fear for the stability of Afghanistan. Once inside, the Taliban could quite easily engineer what would amount to a coup and be back on top again.

What of the Pakistani government? Their intelligence service, the ISI created the Taliban and some elements retain their contacts - almost certainly giving them assistance from time to time. If the Taliban is still the creature of the ISI, you would expect nothing good to come from that relationship as far as Afghanistan is concerned.

Not a very encouraging state of affairs at the moment in Afghanistan.