Agreement With Taliban Proving Elusive
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  • TJM

    “The Obama administration has a pretty clear and realistic idea about US goals in Afghanistan…”

    Could you expand upon that? I am unaware of any evidence to support your opening line.

  • Hubbub

    “The Taliban may not be our enemies, but they are certainly not our friends…”

    Dr. Mead – This type of hedging is why we don’t deal well with our enemies. Better said, “The Taliban are certainly not our friends, they are our enemies.”

    We should deal with our enemies as the enemies they are and not pretend that they may become our friends if we only concede more of our own priorities. Especially so should we deal with those whose ideology is totally incompatible with our own.

    We should not do a disservice to ourselves in the service of our enemy.

  • Luke Lea

    Frankly, I don’t see how the Taliban can do us much harm from 7,000 miles away. Certainly they will think twice before hosting Al Qaeda again. Isn’t that good enough?

  • Corlyss


    @ Luke
    “Certainly they will think twice before hosting Al Qaeda again.”

    Yeah. That lesson we taught Pakistan for harboring UBL for 5 years while they were an ostensible ally was sobering.

  • Utterly sickening to talk of “reconcilitation” with the Taliban (WaPo). And I’m really disappointed to see WRM to endorse this kind of “Realpolitik.” How much did the US spent on the war in Afghanistan? And all this to end with an “agreement” that treats the Taliban as some kind of legitimate “peace” partner??? So they keep the peace for a few years and focus on producing many more little Talibans who will all get a Taliban-style education and graduate with honors in the subjects of opressing women and hating the infidel West.

  • And here, just to remind everyone what we’re talking about from the reporter who was held hostage by the Taliban for some 7 months:

    Over those months, I came to a simple realization. After seven years of reporting in the region, I did not fully understand how extreme many of the Taliban had become. Before the kidnapping, I viewed the organization as a form of “Al Qaeda lite,” a religiously motivated movement primarily focused on controlling Afghanistan.

    Living side by side with the Haqqanis’ followers, I learned that the goal of the hard-line Taliban was far more ambitious. Contact with foreign militants in the tribal areas appeared to have deeply affected many young Taliban fighters. They wanted to create a fundamentalist Islamic emirate with Al Qaeda that spanned the Muslim world.

    I had written about the ties between Pakistan’s intelligence services and the Taliban while covering the region for The New York Times. I knew Pakistan turned a blind eye to many of their activities. But I was astonished by what I encountered firsthand: a Taliban mini-state that flourished openly and with impunity.

    The Taliban government that had supposedly been eliminated by the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was alive and thriving.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Obama is the weakest and stupidest President we have ever had. His lame foreign policy have done terrible damage to America’s strategic goals. I hope and pray that we can get rid of him next year.

  • Luke Lea

    @Corlyss and PetraMB – Don’t overestimate the enemy. They haven’t laid a glove on us in ten years. 9/11 was a sucker punch and a lucky one at that. What matters is their utter lack of capacity not their grandiose intentions.

  • rkka

    ” Obama is the weakest and stupidest President we have ever had.”

    Oh, I don’t know. He hasn’t spent ~4500 American lives and a trillion bucks on a lunatic war over fictional WMDs, and nor did his Fed chairman blow the most collossal asset bubble in history. Nor has he turned a budget surplus into chronic deficits.

    The FY 2009 budget signed by GBII in October 2008 had higher spending than BHO’s FY2010 budget.

  • Kris

    President Obama’s choice to announce a withdrawal timetable at the same time he announced the surge has now left US negotiators in a tough position. Other parties sense that the US is desperately eager to get out of Afghanistan come what may, and they are using that desperation as bargaining leverage in the peace negotiations.

    Who could possibly have seen this coming?

  • LL: Maybe when you think about the Taliban’s capacity (and how it could look in the not-too-distant future) you should consider their cozy ties with a nuclear-armed state that looks very much like a failed state and has no shortage of radical Muslims???

  • bentunder

    The Taliban has zero credibility when it comes to adhering to agreements with the United States. It considers the US to be an immoral, evil force. To the extent it participates in negotiations, it does so to consolidate gains in advance of our publicly-announced withdrawal date.
    The WaPo article quotes a diplomat who claims it takes courage to engage in negotiations. The Taliban assassinated the Afghan minister for reconciliation. ‘Courage’ is likely a less accurate description than ‘suicidal naivete’.

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