Thursday, February 04, 2010

Tallking with the Taliban

The main consensus from the London conference on Afghanistan seems to be to go talking to the Taliban.

I find these developments quite amazing. On the one hand Afghanistan is full of people who once served the Taliban and who now support its government. So I can't see why we should do as if it is something special when we can turn a few more Taliban supporters around. The conflict in Afghanistan is to a large extent an ethnic conflict and support for the Taliban is not only determined by support for radical Islam but also by tribal affiliations. This is a kind of conflict where people easily switch sides and we should be prepared to play the game. To continue with the idea that the Taliban is Al Qaeda and as such is bad and must be destroyed is just lunacy.

On the other hand I hate to see how much stress is given to talking with the Taliban. This smells like desparation and reminds me of Vietnam. I think it is extremely unlikely that there will be any grand agreement with the Taliban and if there is such an agreement it is likely that the Taliban will break it just like the Vietnamese communists did.

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