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Talking with the Taliban

11 October, 2008

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A new excitement is building up in the international media regarding Afghanistan. There are numerous reports that the Afghan government is currently holding talks with the Taliban in Saudi Arabia. These talks are reportedly brokered by Saudi Arabia, blessed by the US government/NATO countries and mediated by Nawaz Sharif, the ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan.

This latest hype throws up a few questions that beg answers.

  • Do these talks indicate that the United States and NATO countries now have a genuine change of heart for the betterment of Afghan people or is it that they are unable to defeat the Taliban in the battlefield?
  • For the talks to succeed, the Taliban have put an absolute precondition of all foreign troops to leave Afghanistan. Would the Coalition Forces agree to that?
  • There is one example in the past of similar efforts that failed. In 2007, British and Taliban forces agreed to leave Musa Qalah in Helmand province and hand the authority back to the local tribal leaders. It didn`t take long for the Taliban to return in full strength. What says that this time around the strategy will work and in time produce durable peace in Afghanistan?
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