06 October 2008

Negotiating With the Taliban

Spencer Ackerman has some thoughts on negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban and how it could be beneficial to counter-insurgency. However, he doesn't seem that enthused:

Undoubtedly it's a bitter pill to swallow -- they're the Taliban! But if anyone has a better idea for an Afghanistan endgame, I'd like to hear it.
At first, one might think that the Anbar Awakening required us to align with some unsavory characters for the purpose of stabilization, so counterinsurgency in Afghanistan should have a similar approach. But The Captain's Journal highlights the differences and argues why it would be a lousy idea to negotiate with the Taliban:
So how well does this compare with the situation in Afghanistan? First of all, the Taliban willingly approved of sanctuary for al Qaeda rather than fought against them prior to 9/11. Second, they willingly fight side-by-side with their fighters today against U.S. and NATO forces. Third, Operation Enduring Freedom is an “economy of force” campaign, which means that, as we were told by both Generals McNeill and McKiernan, we don’t have enough troops, and by definition, this means that we don’t have the force projection necessary to do the job of counterinsurgency.
Signing a bunch of worthless peace agreements with the Taliban might result in some Musa Qala type situation throughout Afghanistan where they just impose their brutal rule and give safe haven to terrorists, so I'm going to have to lean towards TCJ on this one, even though Spencer is pretty sharp on Afghanistan.

If neither of these viewpoints suit your fancy, you can always go the quisling route and apologize for the Taliban like this assface in Canada:
The Taliban was founded as an Islamic religious movement dedicated to fighting communism and the drug trade. It received U.S. funding until May 2001. But western war propaganda has so demonized the Taliban that few politicians have the courage to propose the obvious and inevitable: A negotiated settlement to this pointless seven-year war. Even NATO's secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, said the war could only be ended by negotiations, not military means.
What the hell, Canada, I thought we were on the same team. Do I need to return my Shania Twain CDs?