The 21st Century Phenomenon




The main political agenda nowadays in AFPAK (Afghanistan & Pakistan) is the deployment to the time when USA will withdraw its forces by the end of 2014. If the invasion to Afghanistan was aimed to uproot the Taliban from Afghanistan because of its alliance and protection to Al Qaeda, it turned out that the international impact of the Taliban is less than that of the Pakistani ISI proxy Lashkar-e-Toiba and large segments of Al Qaeda are hosted and protected in Pakistan. It also turned out that the Taliban is well rooted in the Pashtu tribes in AFPAK and with the support of the population it is almost impossible to overcome the Taliban (see – Afpak-War). The best NATO-ISAF alliance can hope is to contain the threat and to seek a political long term solution.

NATO political and military leadership already recognized that the Taliban Cannot be beaten and is supporting the Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s efforts to look for a political deal with the Taliban although the official position of the Taliban is that they are ready to talk peace only after the last US led NATO soldiers will leave the country. They smell the urge, the stress and they see the time-table already decided and the Taliban has no reason to compromise but to seat and wait (see – Petraeus W Plan).

On Monday 04/11/2011, Turkey said they are willing to host a political office for Taliban militants from Afghanistan in order to promote talks to end the war there, and an Afghan official said Turkish planning is already in progress. Turkey contributes troops to NATO’s Afghan operation, albeit in a noncombat role, and it has sought to mediate as a regional power in a variety of conflicts beyond its borders.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that he talked last month about hosting a Taliban office with Burhanuddin Rabbani, a visiting former president of Afghanistan, who leads a peace council set up by the Afghan government to work toward a political solution with the Taliban (see -Jirga 06.05.10).

After many years of tension between Hamid Karzai’s regime in Afghanistan, blaming the Pakistanis for supporting the Taliban in his country, and Pakistan the Afghan president and the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani held talks, on Saturday 04/16/2011, in Kabul.  They had agreed to upgrade a joint peace commission in an attempt to end the Taliban insurgency in both countries. Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was joined by his armed forces chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the head of the intelligence agency, Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, described the talks as “historical and unprecedented”.

Hamid  Karzai said the joint peace commission, which had been at the level of foreign ministers, had been upgraded to the highest governmental level. He said he had discussed the move with US President Barack Obama, and said the move had the support of the US.

“We welcome the participation of the US in this tripartite arrangement… We have recently seen more interest by the US in the peace process,” he told the news conference.

Ironically after 10 years of war in Afghanistan, squandering of hundreds of billions dollars, almost 2,000 NATO casualties and 10 times more of Afghan casualties there is a regional and international effort to legitimize the Taliban. Politically they almost won the war.
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