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Taliban Making Overtures For Peace: Petraeus

Discussion in 'Americas' started by GUNNER, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. GUNNER

    GUNNER SENIOR MEMBER

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    Petraeus Says Taliban Making Overtures For Peace

    KABUL, Sept 28, 2010 (AFP) - The commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan said Tuesday that the Taliban are approaching the Afghan government and foreign forces about laying down arms after almost nine years of insurgency.

    US General David Petraeus, who commands more than 150,000 NATO and US troops in Afghanistan, said many small insurgent groups had already made "overtures" to NATO forces about quitting the fight.

    "There have already been 20 or so overtures from small groups around the country," he told AFP, referring to a programme aimed at reintegrating mid-level Taliban commanders and grassroots fighters back into Afghan society.

    He said NATO supported efforts by President Hamid Karzai to open peace talks with the Taliban leadership and in some cases had helped the process along.

    "Reconciliation with senior elements of the Taliban is the province of the Afghan government," Petraeus said in an interview with AFP.

    "President Karzai has established very clear red lines for it, and in this case we support what it is the Afghan government is doing, and in some occasions facilitated as well.

    "This is very, very early stages, I don't think you would yet call it negotiations, it is early discussions," he said.

    "People are coming to the government, there are people coming to us," he said, adding: "This is an Afghan government endeavour."

    Petraeus was referring to the twin-track programme of reconciliation and reintegration, sponsored by the Western allies with a 200-million-dollar trust fund to help pay local Afghan communities to bring fighters in from the cold.

    Reconciliation focuses on opening a dialogue with the Taliban leadership in the hope of ending the long war; and reintegration on winning over men who fight for the Taliban, often for lack of alternative employment opportunities.

    Approaches to the Taliban leadership, believed to be based over the eastern border in Pakistan, have been led by Karzai, who has set up a High Peace Council of 66 members to open a dialogue towards peace.

    Karzai's plan to create the council was approved in June at a "peace jirga" in Kabul attended by community, tribal, religious and political leaders from across the country.

    The council was mooted as a negotiating body, to be made up of representatives of a broad section of Afghan society, to talk peace with the Taliban, who have been waging war since their regime was toppled in late 2001.

    Karzai on Tuesday renewed his call on the Taliban to give up their violent campaign against his administration.

    "I call on the Taliban again," he said. "Compatriots! Don't destroy your land for the benefit of others. Don't kill your people for the benefit of others. Embrace peace," he said.

    The Taliban have publicly rejected Karzai's plans, saying they will not discuss peace until all foreign forces have left Afghanistan.

    Officials have said the 68-member council would include former members of the Taliban and Hizb-i-Islami, a militant group led by former prime minister and mujahedeen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

    The insurgency is at its fiercest in the Taliban's southern base, where Petraeus said a major operation has been underway in and around Kandahar city, aiming to exert "substantial additional pressure" on the insurgents.

    Operation Dragon Strike involved about 7,000 troops, he said, calling it the first major operation in which Afghan soldiers outnumber international forces.

    Dragon Strike is the latest phase of Operation Hamkari, seen as a last-ditch effort to eliminate the Taliban from Kandahar and the surrounding areas of Zhari, Panjawyi and Arghandab.

    These areas had been "safe havens for the Taliban for over five years," he said. Insurgents had "put up a considerable fight" in some areas, he said and "decided that they might want try to slide away or go into other areas".

    The three areas -- Arghandab northwest of Kandahar city, and Panjwayi and Zhari to the west -- have long been considered lethal Taliban haunts, mined with bombs that cause the overwhelming majority of deaths among foreign troops.

    Clearing Kandahar and its surrounds of insurgents would be a pivotal move in the counter-insurgency strategy which Petraeus described as a "comprehensive civil-military campaign".

    It builds up to July 2011, which US President Barack Obama has laid down as the deadline for starting to draw down US troops -- though both the president and the commander have recently emphasised that it is not a pull-out date.
     
  2. GUNNER

    GUNNER SENIOR MEMBER

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    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Sept 28, 2010 (AFP) - A Taliban spokesman on Tuesday flatly denied a statement from the commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan that insurgent groups have made overtures about laying down their weapons.

    A Taliban spokesman dismissed US General David Petreaus's comments as "completely baseless", saying the insurgents would not "negotiate with foreign invaders or their puppet government".

    "We want full and unconditional withdrawal of all invading forces from our country," Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP by telephone from an unknown location.

    Petraeus, who commands more than 150,000 NATO and US troops in Afghanistan, told AFP on Tuesday that many small insurgent groups had already made "overtures" to NATO forces about quitting the fight.
     
  3. Donatello

    Donatello RETIRED TTA

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    Bullshyt. They will take US money, let US leave peacefully, and rule Afghanistan with even more brutality.

    Afghanistan will be back to square one, talk about wasting billions of dollars down the drain.
     
  4. Chogy

    Chogy PROFESSIONAL

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    From my "contact" in Afghanistan: "We approached a local village that had dozens of able-bodied young males with the concept of forming a militia for the defense of their village. They would be given arms and other materiel necessary for the task. Their response: 'Pay us first.' These men wanted to be paid to stand up and defend their own homes."

    NOT good.
     
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  5. muse

    muse ELITE MEMBER

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    It might play that way in the US or with Americans - but perhaps the locals see or experience reality differently -- they may not see any need to "stand up and defend their homes" from what to the US are it's enemies, but clearly not to the locals.

    Don't get me wrong, it's not that the Talib are good guys, but perhaps the locals know that there may not any good guys in this at all.
     
  6. Tuahaa

    Tuahaa FULL MEMBER

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    US funded the Taliban. Mind you, Afghanistan will come and bite you in the back. They probably feel they are doing your dirty work and aren't swayed by words this time.
     
  7. Sinnerman108

    Sinnerman108 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Chogy,

    that is the heart of the matter,
    THAT is the reason why USA will fail in what it is doing
    THAT is the reason why Pakistan failed in what it was doing.
     
  8. Chogy

    Chogy PROFESSIONAL

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    It is a sociological and cultural barrier. The Afghanis in question despise the Taliban. They have no great love for NATO forces either, but their hatred and fear of the Taliban knows no bounds. Yet they demanded to be paid to defend themselves. They view NATO as a giant teat flowing with money, food, equipment.

    If the ANA and/or local militias cannot man-up and defend their homes and villages, if they cannot cease their endless pilfering of aid materiel and money, then yes, I agree, the future is not good.