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Endgame Afghanistan: Talking to the Taliban

Discussion in 'Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by Zarvan, May 20, 2013.

  1. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    Kabul: The Taliban is the same group that preferred war with the United States over handing over its friends from the Al Qaeda. It is the same group that continues to haunt Afghans. So what has led to talks with the Taliban in the run-up to 2014, when Western troops will exit Afghanistan completely?

    It's a story that takes us back and forth between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and many diplomatic offices.

    Hamid Gul, a retired Lt General of Pakistan's army, also known as the father of the Taliban, believes the Taliban is the victor after 12 years of war with the US and Afghanistan should be left to them. "America has lost the war and they must go. Jihad is a spirit, an unfinished revolution," he says.

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    By early 2002, many Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters were killed in US bombing and others sent on the run. The US, convinced the Taliban was a spent force, diverted resources to Iraq. Not until 2009 did America's attention return towards Afghanistan.

    So what does the Taliban want? We get some perspective from former Taliban leader Sayed Akbar Agha. He has served time in Afghan, Pakistani, and American prisons and now lives in Kabul, guarded by his own men.

    Mr Agha warns of a fate Afghanistan fears the most. "If all the foreign forces don't withdraw from Afghanistan, then there will be a civil war." He says there is no question of accepting the Constitution and falls short of supporting suicide attacks on fellow Afghans.

    "Not only the Taliban, even the people who support them will not accept this Constitution. We and the Taliban only accept that Constitution that is according to Islamic Sharia," he says.

    Mr Agha feels the bridge between Afghanistan's democratic government and Taliban's vision of a totalitarian state ruled by Sharia can never be bridged.

    Across the border, in Rawalpindi, Hamid Gul echoes this ideology. "It is the will of the Afghan people to have Sharia, it is the will of the people of Pakistan, but they are trapped in a system, he" asserts.

    In Lahore, the Sunni Ulema chief Tahir Ashrafi, makes it clear the only road to Afghanistan is through Pakistan. "America is doing muzakarat (dialogue) with Mullah Omar and is begging the whole world to do so. I don't think Karzai (the Afghan president) is that strong that he can alone sort out issues with Mullah Omar. If we can do any musbat (mediation), we will do it. But is Mullah Omar willing to sit with Karzai? That is also a big question."

    The leverage Pakistan exerts over the Taliban is evident in the arrest of Mullah Baradar, Mullah Omar's deputy, in 2010. Despite Pakistan acquiring primacy in negotiations with the Taliban, there has been little to show for it. The only outcome is an office for the Taliban in Doha in Qatar. After years of negotiations, those released by Pakistan have reportedly joined back the Taliban's fighting forces.

    Pakistan is in no mood to give up its assets, says Amarullah Saleh, Afghanistan's former chief of intelligence, who comes from the Tajik-dominated Panjsher valley. He is admired by both Tajiks and Pashtuns alike.

    "Pakistan is still of the firm belief that supporting militant extremism is basically a deterrent for Pakistan. It's a cheap army, which the Pakistanis have maintained for decades now. The story of the Pakistanis using Waziris in the eastern front or western front is not something new. It goes back decades since the emergence of Pakistan as a country. The strategy of inflicting a hundred cuts is still there. They have truly inflicted a hundred cuts on the body of Afghanistan," he explains.

    For the West, talking to the Taliban became a part of its exit strategy. For the Taliban, perhaps it is the beginning of the endgame.
    Endgame Afghanistan: Talking to the Taliban | NDTV.com
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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2013
  2. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    Kabul: Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai is in India to seek economic cooperation but the focus this time is likely to be on security.

    The Afghan MPs, Opposition leaders, former intelligence chiefs and police commissioners have told NDTV that they want more than developmental aid from India.

    They would like India to player a much bigger role post-2014, when Western troops will exit Afghanistan completely, to provide security to the country. Even though Indian boots on the ground at the moment is out, there is a lot that India could help with in training and providing military equipment.

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    The focus on security comes from the fear of the return of the Taliban amongst the Afghans.

    Currently, 3,52,000 Afghan national soldiers are guarding the country but the people continue to fear the Taliban's return.

    We met a young government official, who wants to stay anonymous. He comes from Wardak, a Taliban stronghold. "My village is very beautiful but I can't go home. Taliban will kill me. I am very afraid, what should I do in future if the Taliban came and take Kabul, they will kill me. That's why I want to run away to a different country."

    Working with the government is the biggest offence in the eyes of the Taliban. He says his friends, fellow villagers, have turned into enemies. "The Taliban are punishing the young boys, they say don't go to school, just you must go to the Pakistan and the Pakistan's Taliban train them and send them back to our village. These young boys are waiting to bomb blast beside the road, they are waiting, yes. Just they are waiting for their handlers to order them to blow themselves up. They are told by the Taliban, if they die they will go to the paradise and will be martyred."

    Ninety nine per cent of his village is either under the Taliban's control or supports them. "Our village, we have 2 parts, 1 belongs to the government of Afghanistan and the other to the Taliban, they have commanders and Governor."

    The Taliban is running a proxy government calling it the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. For propaganda, they release updated videos of suicide bombers. They have a media wing called Al Emarah ****** Studio that comes under their 'ministry of culture- promotion of virtue and prevention of vice'. With a full-fledged website, not just in Dari, Pashto and Urdu, but also in English, they put out their vision of Afghanistan and to lure educated young men.

    India's bottom line in Afghanistan is to stay engaged but considering Pakistan's India phobia, India is likely to play cautious in terms of security support to Afghanistan.
    Endgame Afghanistan: living in the fear of the Taliban | NDTV.com
     
  3. Pakistanisage

    Pakistanisage PROFESSIONAL

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    I think in the end Afghanistan might break up and that is not good for Pakistan. Taliban must find a way to live in peace with other Ethnicities and Nationalities of Afghanistan i.e. Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras etc.

    They cannot develop as a nation without Peaceful coexistence. An unstable Afghanistan is highly dangerous for Pakistan as we cannot absorb any ore of their refugees.
     
  4. OrionHunter

    OrionHunter ELITE MEMBER

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    There are a lot of conjectures and a guessing game that's going on as to what would happen post 2014. At present no one really has a clue.

    But I think there is going to be a gradual escalation of a civil war in Afghanistan. It would be the Northern Alliance warlords consisting of the anti Taliban factions with covert support from Iran, Russia, India, and the Central Asian Republics.

    The US will of course not create a vacuum by up-sticking completely from there, as the energy stakes are too high in the region. At least a division worth of troops and special forces units with supporting arms will be stationed permanently in and around Kabul and other vital areas. In the event of an unacceptable level of American casualties then it would be deja vu. The Americans would be back, though not in such large numbers.

    A solution could be to divide the country into zones, some of which could involve the Taliban. Afghanistan could be carved into eight separate "kingdoms" – with some of them potentially ruled by the Taliban, according to a plan under discussion in London and Washington.

    Code-named "Plan C", the radical blueprint for the future of Afghanistan sets out reforms that would relegate President Hamid Karzai to a figurehead role. The plan divides Afghanistan into eight zones, based around the "economic hubs" of Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Jalalabad, Khost and Bamyan. The areas would be administered by a council representing different ethnic groups and overseen by one or more foreign countries.

    [​IMG]

    However, if Afghanistan is divided, it would require the permanent protection and military presence of these 'mini-states' by the involved powers. As it looks at the moment, the international community and the involved forces do not have the financial and military means to continue the current trend. How are they going to finance a permanent occupation? Furthermore, the different powers and countries would compete with one another and Afghanistan would become a more dangerous center of the Great Game!

    In a nutshell, interesting times are ahead. At present we are just punching in the dark!
     
  5. Ayush

    Ayush SENIOR MEMBER

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    everyday we have a new article on this topic..we cant say anything now.we can just predict..
     
  6. Zarvan

    Zarvan ELITE MEMBER

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    The day USA runs away the Taliban will be ruling Afghanistan