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White House Shifts Afghanistan Strategy Towards Talks With Taliban

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Editor’s Note – Notice that this report is coming out of the U.K.  As usual, the media in this country is MIA.

So, it appears that Obama is ready to negotiate with the vicious Taliban to appease the anti-war faction of the far left.  Negotiations that include talks of ‘power sharing’, which will only last while American troops are on the ground, and once they’re gone, the Afghan government under Karzai will collapse like a house of cards.

We’ve been down this path before, and we all know where it leads…

 

White House Shifts Afghanistan Strategy Towards Talks With Taliban

Ewen MacAskill and Simon Tisdall
Guardian.co.uk

The White House is revising its Afghanistan strategy to embrace the idea of negotiating with senior members of the Taliban through third parties – a policy to which it had previously been lukewarm.

Negotiating with the Taliban has long been advocated by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and the British and Pakistani governments, but resisted by Washington.

The Guardian has learned that while the American government is still officially resistant to the idea of talks with Taliban leaders, behind the scenes a shift is under way and Washington is encouraging Karzai to take a lead in such negotiations.

“There is a change of mindset in DC,” a senior official in Washington said. “There is no military solution. That means you have to find something else. There was something missing.”

That missing element was talks with the Taliban leadership, the official added.

The American rethink comes in the aftermath of the departure last month of General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama, apparently frustrated at the way the war is going, has reminded his national security advisers that while he was on the election campaign trail in 2008, he had advocated talking to America’s enemies.

The change of heart by the US comes as Afghanistan hosts the biggest international gathering in its capital for 40 years, with representatives from 60 countries including Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, and Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.

The dominant theme of the Kabul conference is “reintegration”, which involves reaching out to low-level insurgents to encourage them to lay down their arms.

There is growing disenchantment in the US with the war in Afghanistan and members of the Senate’s foreign relations committee last week questioned Holbrooke over what they described as a lack of clarity on an exit strategy.

The US has no agreed position on who among the leaders of the insurgency should be wooed and who would be beyond the pale. The Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, would be a problem as he provided Osama bin Laden with bases before the 9/11 attacks.

The US would also find it problematic to deal with the Pakistan-based insurgents led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, whose group pioneered suicide attacks in Afghanistan. The third main element in the insurgency is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who has hinted he is ready to break ranks.

The US has laid down basic conditions for any group seeking negotiations. They are: end all ties to al-Qaida, end violence, and accept the Afghan constitution.

A senior Pakistani diplomat said: “The US needs to be negotiating with the Taliban; those Taliban with no links to al-Qaida. We need a power-sharing agreement in Afghanistan, and it will have to be negotiated with all the parties.

“The Afghan government is already talking to all the shareholders‚ the Taliban, the Haqqani network, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and Mullah Omar. The Americans have been setting ridiculous preconditions for talks. You can’t lay down such preconditions when you are losing.”

Read More – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/19/obama-afghanistan-strategy-taliban-negotiate

Tom Tillison

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