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WSJ: US Considers Talking To The Taliban

From Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Mulls Talks With Taliban in Bid to Quell Afghan Unrest

Gen. Petraeus Backs Effort to Win Over Some Elements of Group

By YOCHI J. DREAZEN, SIOBHAN GORMAN and JAY SOLOMON

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is actively considering talks with elements of the Taliban, the armed Islamist group that once ruled Afghanistan and sheltered al Qaeda, in a major policy shift that would have been unthinkable a few months ago.

Senior White House and military officials believe that engaging some levels of the Taliban — while excluding top leaders — could help reverse a pronounced downward spiral in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. Both countries have been destabilized by a recent wave of violence.

The outreach is a draft recommendation in a classified White House assessment of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, according to senior Bush administration officials. The officials said that the recommendation calls for the talks to be led by the Afghan central government, but with the active participation of the U.S.

The idea is supported by Gen. David Petraeus, who will assume responsibility this week for U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Gen. Petraeus used a similar approach in Iraq, where a U.S. push to enlist Sunni tribes in the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq helped sharply reduce the country’s violence. Gen. Petraeus earlier this month publicly endorsed talks with less extreme Taliban elements…

The proposed policy appears to strike rare common ground with both presidential candidates. Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama has said he thinks talks with the Taliban should be considered and has advocated shifting more military forces to Afghanistan. Republican contender Sen. John McCain supports, as part of his strategy, reaching out to tribal leaders in an effort to separate “the reconcilable elements of the insurgency from the irreconcilable elements of the insurgency,” Randy Scheunemann, the campaign’s top foreign-policy adviser, said Monday.

The U.S. policy review is taking place against the backdrop of ongoing talks between Taliban sympathizers and Afghan government officials. The negotiations, which have been held in recent weeks in Saudi Arabia and moderated by Saudi officials, have primarily involved former Taliban members who have since left the armed group. But a U.S. official said some of the discussions have included current Taliban members and others with close ties to the group’s leadership…

U.S. officials stress that they would play a supporting role in any future talks with the Taliban, which they say would be led by the Afghan central government and powerful Afghan tribal figures. The talks would primarily include lower-ranking and mid-level Taliban figures, not top officials from the group’s ruling body.

“We’ll never be at the table with Mullah Omar,” one U.S. official said, referring to the fugitive leader of the Taliban

The prospective talks would have two main goals, according to senior American officials: extending the Kabul government’s authority across Afghanistan and persuading some Taliban figures to cease their attacks against U.S. and Afghan targets…

Senior U.S. officials who are working on the White House review said the recommendations may not explicitly call for joining the Afghan government’s talks with the Taliban, but may instead refer to greater interaction with local Afghan leaders in unstable parts of the country. In restive eastern and southeastern Afghanistan, where many Pashtun tribal leaders are Taliban or Taliban sympathizers, this strategy would effectively amount to dealing with the Taliban, these U.S. officials said…

Current and former officials attributed the White House’s policy shift to the influence of Gen. Petraeus. “I do think you have to talk to enemies,” he said Oct. 8 during a speech to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “You want to try to reconcile with as many of those as possible while then identifying those who truly are irreconcilable.”

Not everything that worked in Iraq will work in Afghanistan, Gen. Petraeus cautioned. Still, he said that engaging some members of the Taliban would be “a positive step.”

Ms. Bue, the former State Department official, said U.S. officials would at a minimum want Afghan militants to help U.S. and Afghan forces root out the foreign fighters who have been responsible for most of the bloodiest attacks in Afghanistan…

The leadership of the Taliban may have no incentive to negotiate because they view themselves as winning the conflict and because “their vision of the country is so diametrically opposed” to that of the central Afghan government, he said.

It would seem that what we have here is a bit of a language problem.

If this is just an attempt to bring about a local tribal “awakening,” as was done as part of the surge in Iraq, than that is not such a “in a major policy shift that would have been unthinkable a few months ago” that the article claims.

For that has been discussed as a possible new strategy for Afghanistan now for some time.

But this news has to be trumpeted to show us how we have nothing to fear from the brilliant foreign policies of the Anointed One.

The proposed policy appears to strike rare common ground with both presidential candidates. Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama has said he thinks talks with the Taliban should be considered and has advocated shifting more military forces to Afghanistan.

For electing Mr. Obama is job one even for the Wall Street Journal, which despite its editorial pages, is just another liberal media outlet staffed by the usual suspects.

But, what the heck. Why not negotiate with the Taliban?

We’ve already seen all the good it did Mr. Musharraf.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “WSJ: US Considers Talking To The Taliban”

  1. BillK says:

    Hell, why not sit down and have a chat with the Taliban?

    Obama’s going to do it come January anyway.

    It’s not like appeasement has ever failed before…

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    This is the same as talking to some of the elements of the Nazi Party. The Luffewaffen wasn’t as nasty as the SS was but I also have to say that at least the Nazis were more civil than the Taliban (if thats possible). Obama, like Neville Chamberlin, doesn’t see an enemy he can’t be friends with. As Rosie (crack snacker) O’Donnel says of the Taliban, and I quote; “They are mommies and daddies too!” Gee, kinda makes you want to have a picnic and play ball with them, now don’t it?
    I say all this tongue in cheek!

  3. 1sttofight says:

    Obama, like Neville Chamberlin, doesn’t see an enemy he can’t be friends with.

    Obama is ALREADY friends with the USA’s enimies. That might be the reason The LAT’s refuses to release the tape of Obama hugging a PLA thug at a gala function also attended by Ayers and his terrorist wife.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    Pass the ammo can this way bro

  5. Reality Bytes says:

    Sure Why Not?! Divide & Conquer! “Treat us good – we’ll treat you better. Treat us bad – we’ll treat you worse!”

  6. JannyMae says:

    As Petraeus said, not everything that worked in Iraq will work in Afghanistan. In addition, they made it clear that they are not talking about sitting down with the higher-ups. There is a vast difference between trying to promote negotiations between warring factions in Afghanistan and negotiating with terrorists.

    However, you hit the nail on the head, here:
    “But this news has to be trumpeted to show us how we have nothing to fear from the brilliant foreign policies of the Anointed One.”

    Indeed, an Obama worshiping moonbat posted this on another site, with the tagline, “Petreaus agrees with Obama.” He not only couldn’t get Petraeus’ name spelled right, he failed to note that Obama’s comments about negotiating with the Taliban came AFTER Petraeus made this suggestion. Seems as if Obama was agreeing with Petraeus…

    This is really not a story, and is nothing but hype to promote the Messiah.

  7. artboyusa says:

    Reality’s right on about this. A little chat and a lot of gold in the right places will get us further in Afghanistan than all the ammo in our lockers.

  8. texaspsue says:

    “If this is just an attempt to bring about a local tribal “awakening,” as was done as part of the surge in Iraq, than that is not such a “in a major policy shift that would have been unthinkable a few months ago” that the article claims.”

    From what I have been reading on the Soldiers sites, IT IS suppose to be an “Anbar Awakening” strategy to help the Afgans that are tired of the Taliban infiltrating and terrorizing their tribes.

    Something in this article is askew and the MSM is leading the reader astray. No one wants to play nice with the Taliban per se. As SG states, “But this news has to be trumpeted to show us how we have nothing to fear from the brilliant foreign policies of the Anointed One.”

  9. cerberus6 says:

    This is not new – I know both the Karzai government and US officials talked to various “Taliban” leaders at the mid and lower levels during 2004 & 2005.

    The “Taliban” is not monolithic – there are exploitable rifts, rivalries and outright feuds between factions, but not easily done by outsiders (non Afghan or Pashto). There are (well, there were) many small Taliban “light” gangs – smaller groups and gang leaders that were basically armed thugs that used Taliban like tactics and techniques to run rough shod over the populations in certain areas where the old guard War Lords were being killed, retired, co-opted into government or marginalized. Instability increased as the relative security these thugs maintained in their area of control dropped. These gangs were not particularly active in the talibanization of those areas – though to be sure, in Pashto tribal areas there isn’t much of a line between normal life and life under the Taliban – and some could probably be turned to the government side and later sorted out as was done with many of the old militia units.

    Breaking the insurgency isn’t just accomplished by killing these guys – though I hope we rub out every one of the”foreign fighters”. Pasto tradition will propel some family member(s) to step in to avenge and replace relatives that are killed.

    I’m all for killing or capture of anyone actively engaged in terrorism or combat, and having seen firsthand the barbarity the Taliban and AQ/foreign fighters inflict on military and civilian alike. I have nothing but hatred for them and their cause. To win the war we have to fight the ideology and the organization as much as killing the combatants – and that does mean at times talking to some of them, as we have done – probably from the very beginning. This is using talks as strategy to divide, co-opt and prevail – not comrade Obama’s proposal to negotiate, appease and surrender.

  10. MAYIBUDIN says:

    Negociation is an ancestral tactic. It works some times and fails other times depending on the good faith of each party. The talibans or any enemy of the western world should count their blessings when a hand, peace or truce or whatever is offered to them. None of the negociations would be possible with an evil power and they would simply be “genocided”. On the other hand, if they refuse our good faith offers and carry on with their barbaric traditions, then they deserve to be exterminated…no prisoners taken.
    Am I being radical? Or is this their type of common sense….

  11. Liberals Demise says:

    MAYIBUDIN : You are not being a radical when you say “no prisoners taken”. These people don’t sit down with the EVIL SATAN and barter a Peace Deal. They are zealots in their jihad against the West and our Allies. Back in the early 1800’s the United States tried to reason with the Barbary Pirates (muslim terrorist) over taking prisoner Amerinan Sailors and seizing our ships and cargo. They wanted us to pay a ransom to keep them from doing this. At first we did pay but they went back to their old ways but started killing our people. Enter the U.S. Marines and the first Amphibious Landing on foriegn shores. History shows that they (terrorist) don’t care about women, children or property when it comes to their agenda. Be ready for when they bite the hand with the olive branch in it. There is a hate in them for anything that isn’t muslim thats been raging for thousands of years. It is instilled in them from childhood. I pose this question, “Could you for one second think you can deal with a dog that has rabies or would you just shot it for the good of the community?”

  12. MAYIBUDIN says:

    LD: I agree with you and there are countless records of good will back firing. And perhaps that is why I am radical with the absurd or the idiots. When dealing with an idiot, treat him like an idiot. An eye for an eye. We do have the greatest and “goodest” armed forces in the world and the libs still think our boys are the actual terrorists. What world are these people from? May the libs be reminded that the bad guys never extend a hand or offer of peace unless they are cliff hanging and in my book that’s exactly where I want the brutes to be; one foot off the ledge. After Nov. 4th if Obaba is elected, then let the idiots rule and we’re in for a ride…not a good one. My vote for the next election goes to 1sttofight.


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