LOOKING FOR A WAY OUT
Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, who is well aware of his peoples’ mentality and the tribal rivalries in Afghanistan, offered many times in the past a power sharing deal with the Taliban (see – Karzais Peace offer). In 09/2008, Taliban members met Afghan and Pakistani officials during a dinner hosted by Saudi-Arabia’s King Abdullah, but there were no concrete results from the meeting (see – DEAD-END).
Speaking on Al Jazeera, Rohan Gunaratna, an international security specialist based in Singapore, said: “Unless and until the Afghan government enters into a negotiated settlement with the Afghan and the Pakistani Taliban, there will be no peace in Afghanistan. But in 2008, although NATO and USA did not reject the talks, they did not support it either. They were much more concerned to westernize Hamid Karzai and to turn him to a western democrat as the best way to cope with Afghanistan.
2009 was the bloodiest year in Afghanistan for NATO-ISAF and very successful for the Taliban, who practically took over much of the country. Pakistan proved itself as an ambiguous and unreliable ally in fighting the Taliban (see – Cold-Shoulder) and the Presidential elections of 08/20/2009 in Afghanistan turned out as corrupted as it can be (see – Afghan Confusion) causing total confusion about the policy of IMPOSING DEMOCRACY.
In his new strategy, declared on 01/12/2009, USA President Barack Obama backed off from the “nation building” ambitions, recognizing it is far beyond USA capacities and needs a very long term commitment. He added 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, focused on Al Qaeda and Taliban and limited the troops surge to 18 month only (see – Obamas Surge). It was a clear indication that Barack Obama is not after overcoming the Taliban but looking for an efficient exit strategy. Gen Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan said, in mid 01/2010, his goal is not to subdue the Taliban but to weaken the Taliban to a degree that Taliban will find it much more attractive to share power with Karzai’s regime. He did not take into account the dimension of time. He, Gen Stanley McChrystal, must show results within 18 months – they, the Taliban, hav all the time in the world just to wait for the time to pass.
Amide news about “secret talks” in the Maldives between the Taliban and the Afghan regime, yet another conference on the Afghan issue convened in London, on Thursday 01/28/2010. They decided to support the continuing growth and expansion of the Afghan national army and police force and to hand over as soon as possible the security responsibility to the Afghan forces. The conference also decided to promote sharing power and peace talks with the different groups of the Taliban conglomerate and to buy out with money and jobs some “moderate elements” in the Taliban (in other words to bribe them). Just a day earlier the UN eased sanctions on five former Taliban leaders responding to the Afghan President request and probably linked to the Maldives talks (see – UN 01.27.10).
The London convention was not about overcoming the Taliban or about a descent administration to Afghanistan. It was all about containing the threat of Islamic militancy so it will not boil over to the Western Powers and about the right exit strategy.
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