• Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Afghanistan: Taliban won't talk because it is winning

Discussion in 'Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by Iqbal Ali, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Iqbal Ali

    Iqbal Ali FULL MEMBER

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    Afghanistan: Taliban won't talk because it is winning
    The situation in Afghanistan provides no incentive for the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government.

    [​IMG]

    An Afghan soldier sits on a chair, looking at his phone, in Baghlan province, north of Kabul [AP]
    [​IMG]
    by[/SIZE]
    Tom Hussain

    [​IMG]@tomthehack

    Tom Hussain is a journalist and Pakistan affairs analyst based in Islamabad.

    With an air of inevitability, efforts by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group - comprising Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States - to persuade the Taliban to engage in face-to-face peace negotiations have stalled.

    Diplomats with the group, know as the QCG, have expressed the hope that the Taliban's refusal to talk is a leverage tactic, and that Pakistan would be able to bully and cajole the insurgent movement's leaders resident in Pakistan into changing their decision not to participate.

    It certainly would be characteristic of Afghan politics if that were to happen. However, the existing situation in Afghanistan provides no incentive whatsoever for the Taliban to negotiate with the Kabul-based government.

    Push for Afghanistan peace talks amid Taliban resurgence

    Engaging in talks at this point could prove disastrous for Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the Taliban chief, who has yet to fully impose his authority because of the decidedly dodgy circumstances in which he took power: There are many Taliban notables who remain furious that he concealed the May 2013 death of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the movement's founder and spiritual leader.

    Complicit in a conspiracy?

    Mansour is seen as having been complicit in a conspiracy involving the Pakistani military and thus excessively susceptible to pressure from it.

    Were Mansour to compromise on key pre-conditions to the talks, particularly the withdrawal of foreign troops, he would be risking the break-up of the Taliban, a fire that has already been lit by the rapid growth of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) franchise for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    READ MORE: The problem with Pakistan's foreign policy

    That is why Mansour last week issued a statement calling for a concerted effort to win back estranged Taliban militants who have switched sides.

    The US has never classed the Taliban as anything but an armed insurgency and, despite increasing
    re-engagement in Afghanistan's hot spots, the Pentagon currently describes it as 'hopefully, a partner
    in peace'.



    My sources in the Taliban's military operations command structure say that his recent statement is a precursor to a concerted campaign against ISIL Khorasan. The two sides have been engaged in bloody clashes since November, but the fighting has been localised, again reflecting Mansour's desire to bring home prodigal sons, notably Mohammed Rasool, with the assistance of the Taliban's religious scholars.

    Therein lies a major motivation for global and regional powers, as represented in the QCG either directly or by delegation, to engage the Taliban as a legitimate political entity, rather than treating it as a terrorist organisation.

    Indeed, the US has never classed the Taliban as anything but an armed insurgency and, despite increasing re-engagement in Afghanistan's hot spots, the Pentagon currently describes it as "hopefully, a partner in peace".

    That is because the Taliban has the proven capacity to stabilise areas under its control, albeit through the imposition of a regime on the local populace that is less carrot and more stick.

    Thus the odd spectacle currently on show in eastern Nangarhar province, where ISIL has been engaged by US air power and Afghan ground forces on one front, and by the Taliban on the other, with each meticulously staying out of the other's way because of their common interest.

    When the Taliban takes on ISIL forces in a broader campaign, it will be interesting to watch for parallel US-Afghan military activity.

    Taliban's strategy

    Of course, that is a sideshow in a war in which the major protagonists are increasingly at each other's throats, because of the Taliban's one-year-old campaign to seize territory on all axes of the Afghan theatre, launched when the national security forces assumed frontline responsibility from NATO.

    [​IMG]
    A Taliban fighter sits on his motorcycle adorned with a Taliban flag on a street in Kunduz, Afghanistan [AP]
    Despite the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Afghan military, it has proved incapable of stopping the light infantry of the Taliban from taking territory when it wants to.

    The insurgents used only 2,000 fighters to seize the northern city of Kunduz last year. District by district, Afghan troops are being pulled back to urban centres in Helmand, in the south.

    And the security chief of Ghazni, which neighbours Kabul, recently went on record to say that he would not be held responsible if the Taliban were to seize parts of the province, because his repeated requests for reinforcements have not been met.

    That is reflective of the Taliban's strategy of stretching the military's resources so that its numerical advantage cannot be brought to bear.

    READ MORE: Afghanistan and the Taliban need Pakistan for peace

    The Taliban also have the advantage of not having to position fixed assets to maintain control of its turf: Usually, a battalion-strength detachment of mostly local fighters answerable to a shadow governor and provincial commander is all that is required. They are easily reinforced from adjacent provinces when required, yet hard to target because they refuse to be sitting ducks.

    [​IMG]
    That strategy has been deeply demoralising for the Afghan population, which is dying in unprecedented numbersas the conflict escalates.

    It has also exacerbated the power struggle between President Ashraf Ghani, who favours political engagement with the Taliban with Pakistani help, and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who is deadly opposed to it.

    In fact, it was Abdullah's office that stymied the peace process after one round of talks last July by announcing Mullah Omar's demise, without first informing the president.

    Such is the fragility of the National Unity government that a Taliban offensive on Kabul, leading to the temporary seizure of several suburbs, would almost certainly lead to the coalition's collapse. Even if the Taliban do choose to join the talks, that action would be postponed but not cancelled.

    Tom Hussain is a journalist and Pakistan affairs analyst based in Islamabad.

    The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

    Source: Al Jazeera

    An Afghan soldier sits on a chair, looking at his phone, in Baghlan province, north of Kabul [AP]
    [​IMG]
    by

    Tom Hussain

    [​IMG]@tomthehack

    Tom Hussain is a journalist and Pakistan affairs analyst based in Islamabad.

    With an air of inevitability, efforts by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group - comprising Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States - to persuade the Taliban to engage in face-to-face peace negotiations have stalled.

    Diplomats with the group, know as the QCG, have expressed the hope that the Taliban's refusal to talk is a leverage tactic, and that Pakistan would be able to bully and cajole the insurgent movement's leaders resident in Pakistan into changing their decision not to participate.

    It certainly would be characteristic of Afghan politics if that were to happen. However, the existing situation in Afghanistan provides no incentive whatsoever for the Taliban to negotiate with the Kabul-based government.

    Push for Afghanistan peace talks amid Taliban resurgence

    Engaging in talks at this point could prove disastrous for Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the Taliban chief, who has yet to fully impose his authority because of the decidedly dodgy circumstances in which he took power: There are many Taliban notables who remain furious that he concealed the May 2013 death of Mullah Mohammed Omar, the movement's founder and spiritual leader.

    Complicit in a conspiracy?

    Mansour is seen as having been complicit in a conspiracy involving the Pakistani military and thus excessively susceptible to pressure from it.

    Were Mansour to compromise on key pre-conditions to the talks, particularly the withdrawal of foreign troops, he would be risking the break-up of the Taliban, a fire that has already been lit by the rapid growth of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) franchise for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    READ MORE: The problem with Pakistan's foreign policy

    That is why Mansour last week issued a statement calling for a concerted effort to win back estranged Taliban militants who have switched sides.

    The US has never classed the Taliban as anything but an armed insurgency and, despite increasing
    re-engagement in Afghanistan's hot spots, the Pentagon currently describes it as 'hopefully, a partner
    in peace'.



    My sources in the Taliban's military operations command structure say that his recent statement is a precursor to a concerted campaign against ISIL Khorasan. The two sides have been engaged in bloody clashes since November, but the fighting has been localised, again reflecting Mansour's desire to bring home prodigal sons, notably Mohammed Rasool, with the assistance of the Taliban's religious scholars.

    Therein lies a major motivation for global and regional powers, as represented in the QCG either directly or by delegation, to engage the Taliban as a legitimate political entity, rather than treating it as a terrorist organisation.

    Indeed, the US has never classed the Taliban as anything but an armed insurgency and, despite increasing re-engagement in Afghanistan's hot spots, the Pentagon currently describes it as "hopefully, a partner in peace".

    That is because the Taliban has the proven capacity to stabilise areas under its control, albeit through the imposition of a regime on the local populace that is less carrot and more stick.

    Thus the odd spectacle currently on show in eastern Nangarhar province, where ISIL has been engaged by US air power and Afghan ground forces on one front, and by the Taliban on the other, with each meticulously staying out of the other's way because of their common interest.

    When the Taliban takes on ISIL forces in a broader campaign, it will be interesting to watch for parallel US-Afghan military activity.

    Taliban's strategy

    Of course, that is a sideshow in a war in which the major protagonists are increasingly at each other's throats, because of the Taliban's one-year-old campaign to seize territory on all axes of the Afghan theatre, launched when the national security forces assumed frontline responsibility from NATO.

    [​IMG]
    A Taliban fighter sits on his motorcycle adorned with a Taliban flag on a street in Kunduz, Afghanistan [AP]
    Despite the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Afghan military, it has proved incapable of stopping the light infantry of the Taliban from taking territory when it wants to.

    The insurgents used only 2,000 fighters to seize the northern city of Kunduz last year. District by district, Afghan troops are being pulled back to urban centres in Helmand, in the south.

    And the security chief of Ghazni, which neighbours Kabul, recently went on record to say that he would not be held responsible if the Taliban were to seize parts of the province, because his repeated requests for reinforcements have not been met.

    That is reflective of the Taliban's strategy of stretching the military's resources so that its numerical advantage cannot be brought to bear.

    READ MORE: Afghanistan and the Taliban need Pakistan for peace

    The Taliban also have the advantage of not having to position fixed assets to maintain control of its turf: Usually, a battalion-strength detachment of mostly local fighters answerable to a shadow governor and provincial commander is all that is required. They are easily reinforced from adjacent provinces when required, yet hard to target because they refuse to be sitting ducks.

    [​IMG]
    That strategy has been deeply demoralising for the Afghan population, which is dying in unprecedented numbersas the conflict escalates.

    It has also exacerbated the power struggle between President Ashraf Ghani, who favours political engagement with the Taliban with Pakistani help, and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who is deadly opposed to it.

    In fact, it was Abdullah's office that stymied the peace process after one round of talks last July by announcing Mullah Omar's demise, without first informing the president.

    Such is the fragility of the National Unity government that a Taliban offensive on Kabul, leading to the temporary seizure of several suburbs, would almost certainly lead to the coalition's collapse. Even if the Taliban do choose to join the talks, that action would be postponed but not cancelled.

    Tom Hussain is a journalist and Pakistan affairs analyst based in Islamabad.

    The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

    Source: Al Jazeera

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/op...lk-winning-pakistan-isis-160322054137025.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  2. cloud4000

    cloud4000 FULL MEMBER

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    The title basically says it all. Taliban has no incentive to come to the negotiating table until they have captured the maximum amount of territory. They are accumulating leverage to use against Afghanistan. And let's face the facts here: the weakest party in this negotiation is the Afghan government. They have no leverage and India and US can't help them.
     
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  3. Iqbal Ali

    Iqbal Ali FULL MEMBER

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    Bingo!
    You know what that means, with the Afghan Taliban back in power, its back to pre-2001.
     
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  4. maximuswarrior

    maximuswarrior SENIOR MEMBER

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    Aren't we just sick and tired of this BS?

    Pakistan needs to immediately distance itself from any reconciliation or mediation between anyone. We can't mediate or facilitate anything. Let the Afghans and their American allies figure this out. Pakistan has suffered enough. We are still recovering from the Lahore and Peshawar attacks which was orchestrated in Afghanistan. They want us to mediate whilst they keep backstabbing our nation and massacring our children in cold blood. Not going to happen. Besides, no one can win in opiumland. It is a lost cause. Today, ISIS is finding foothold in Afghanistan. That is a whole new challenge. It is nothing, but messy and enormously complicated. Better to stay out or we'll burn.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
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  5. Iqbal Ali

    Iqbal Ali FULL MEMBER

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    The Afghan Taliban are winning.
     
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  6. GumNaam

    GumNaam FULL MEMBER

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    I highly doubt that the afghan taliban would be what they were in pre-2001. Things have forever changed and Pakistan has gotten far more assertive than it was back in 2001. So if the afghan taliban wants to keep Pakistan, China and Russia on its side diplomatically, they have no choice but to give up the hardliner approach or the Pakistanis, Chinese and the Russians just won't do any business with them which will make economic matters even more dire for them. So once they take over (and they will take over, it's only a matter of time), they will have to stop this policy of revenge against the minorities (especially shias) and will have to respect the interests of its neighbors which include Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia.
     
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  7. axisofevil

    axisofevil SENIOR MEMBER

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    PLEASE CRY ME A RIVER. Maybe more death and bombings is what you guys need to show you how terror hurts the innocent.
     
  8. GumNaam

    GumNaam FULL MEMBER

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    push comes to show, we wouldn't have any problem none what so ever in showing these afghan terrorists (and their backers) what REAL bombing is. in other words, they won't have any tears left to cry me a river.

    Pakistan is a nation best left unpissed off!
     
  9. Somali-Turk

    Somali-Turk FULL MEMBER

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    Taliban terrorist is a scum,they have scammed religion out of the people,these terrorists deserve no mercy.
     
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  10. axisofevil

    axisofevil SENIOR MEMBER

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    Yea thanks for the BS rhetoric....YOu know what happens when India gets pissed, right? We split nations apart. Better leave us alone and supporting terror will only create a bigger black hole for you guys....
     
  11. GumNaam

    GumNaam FULL MEMBER

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    the only way you will ever "split" a nation apart is when the nation is smack in the middle of a bloody civil war. Otherwise, all that india will end up splitting apart is its own @$$! Just try us! 8-)
     
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  12. axisofevil

    axisofevil SENIOR MEMBER

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    LOL we initiated the civil war....you think you have anything in common with Bangladeshi's? More than Bengalis? LOL....We don't have to try again? We already did and succeeded.
     
  13. GumNaam

    GumNaam FULL MEMBER

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    you don't know your history as much as you'd like to think you do. The fact it that it was the discriminatory attitude of the w. Pakistan towards e. Pakistan over the almost 25 years that led to that civil war. Don't start talking history with me, I know bangladeshis both in person and here on this forum who will openly say that they had gotten sick of being the red headed step child. It had nothing to do with you. as far as your meezly little existence is concerned, you couldn't create a civil war even if someone paid you to. Oh wait, america is paying you to create civil war in balochistan and we all know how fast those p!sspoor attempts of yours crashed and burnt.

    heejray ho, heejrah ki auqaat may hee raho! ziada mard bannay ki koshish karee to bay maut kay maaray jao gey!
     
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  14. axisofevil

    axisofevil SENIOR MEMBER

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    Sure buddy. You just admitted it was treatment of Bangladeshi's that led to the civil war. What do you think India did? We just sat and watched? Speak proper english. America is paying for what? Are you delusional again? I don't speak Hindi, so try again lil girl...
     
  15. GumNaam

    GumNaam FULL MEMBER

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    listen you little dingbat, dig thru and read all of my past posts here on this very forum, I have always been a stubborn critic of how the Pakistanis treated the bengalis and that it was a civil war that was bound to happen and they would have succeeded in gaining independence no matter what since, guess what, e. Pakistan was in the majority of the population, more than half of the army foot soldiers were bengalis who rebelled against the state; writing on the wall. So I have never been the one to hide the truth. as for americans, they only made you the "partner" because they wanted your dumb idiotic asses to carry out the dirty work of their hidden agenda so that you can be the fall guy for fomenting terrorism in Pakistan instead of them if you got caught which you have. Next time, pay attention to what your pimp teaches you before hitting the streets like a good little prostitute! :lol:
     
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