Feb 22, 2012

Peace with the Taliban: is it Tenable?





       Are the Taliban a terrorist group?Given the Taliban and their supporters’ track record, it is indeed extremely naïve to think that the fundamentalist group and their backers have been reformed or at the very least mellowed in their views on Islam and or geo-politics. The Taliban are an ideologically driven group whose every move is determined by the deviant version of their religious belief. They live by their beliefs and they die by them without any remorse for the thousands of innocent lives they take along with them. They send zealots of all rank and files from foot soldiers to the supposedly top negotiators who in fact murdered the former head of the Afghan high peace council Burhanuddin Rabbani, to blow themselves and their targets up. 

 

 Is the country that harbors and nurtures them on the US list of states that sponsor Terrorism? The answers to both of these questions are obvious and need not require any elaboration. What does however necessitate scrutiny is why the Obama administration is so keen to support a rapprochement with the Taliban as well as their primary sponsor? Moreover, would it not be logical to talk to the sponsor rather than the sponsored?


The Taliban have not changed since 911. If anything, they have become increasingly ruthless and bold in their tactics and operations as the operations showed in 2011.

2011 also saw a direct attack on the American embassy in Kabul. The individual Talibs that attacked the US embassy had last minute direct contact with its foreign backers who are an off-again-on-again US ally in the war on terror.

It is highly premature at this point to not call the Taliban an enemy. After all if they are not an enemy why does the US negotiate with them? If the Taliban are not the US adversary as claimed by US Vice President Joe Biden, then what is the US doing in Afghanistan? There is no Al Qaeda in the country and the Afghan government for all its ills is not an adversary of the US. The Afghan opposition has no grudge against the US in Afghanistan. Why are the US and NATO spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually in Afghanistan?

Given the Taliban and their supporters’ track record, it is indeed extremely naïve to think that the fundamentalist group and their backers have been reformed or at the very least mellowed in their views on Islam and or geo-politics. The Taliban are an ideologically driven group whose every move is determined by the deviant version of their religious belief. They live by their beliefs and they die by them without any remorse for the thousands of innocent lives they take along with them. They send zealots of all rank and files from foot soldiers to the supposedly top negotiators who in fact murdered the former head of the Afghan high peace council Burhanuddin Rabbani, to blow themselves and their targets up. 

The Taliban are resistant to change. The mere possibility of considering reform is regarded heretic and therefore anyone who may espouse or merely consider the idea is liable to death. Their rigidity is what appeals to thousands of their young aspiring jihadists.

Rapprochement with the Taliban is fraught with a lot of misconceptions. From an Afghan standpoint, approaching the Taliban is faced with a dichotomy. From the Afghan government’s perspective that is dominated by Pashtun nationalists,   it is desirable because it reunites the Pashtuns, possibly at the expense of the rest of the population. President Hamid Karzai has called the Taliban...