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Afghanistan: America prepares to surrender

#2
IMO the solution has been a civil one, not a military one for some time. If we carry on as we are we could still be there in a generations time.
Someone said a while ago 'ISAF have the watches, but the taliban have the time'.
 
#3
However, if the new US-led strategy was successful, the militants "could look desperate" in a year's time, he said.

"I think they will look like an entity that will be struggling for its own legitimacy... I think they will be on the defensive militarily, not wiped out."

On the issue of reconciliation, Gen McChrystal said: "I believe that a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it's the right outcome."
Planning to go on the offensive against the Taliban and weaken them militarily so that they come to the negotiating table with the Afghan Government / NATO holding all the aces is hardly surrendering. It has always been acknowledged that any solution in Afghanistan will have to be primarily political. Calling this 'preparing to surrender' makes me wonder whether you actually read the article...
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Co-opting the enemy was a favoured tactic by the British throughout our imperial history and after (see Ulster). As Yitzak Rabin once said about talking to the enemy, "Who else do you hold peace talks with? Your friends?"
 
#6
leveller said:
This isn't based on the same idea some UN negotiators had a couple of years ago and the US booted them out?
I think the difference is that the US considers it necessary to fight the Taliban to a standstill prior to starting negotiations. Something the OP appears to have missed in the article...
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#7
leveller said:
This isn't based on the same idea some UN negotiators had a couple of years ago and the US booted them out?
It wasn't the US who booted them out - it was the afghans - i.e. Pres Karzai. He didn't want outsiders interfering in an area that he takes a very personal interest in.
 
#8
OldSnowy said:
leveller said:
This isn't based on the same idea some UN negotiators had a couple of years ago and the US booted them out?
It wasn't the US who booted them out - it was the afghans - i.e. Pres Karzai. He didn't want outsiders interfering in an area that he takes a very personal corrupt interest in.
You missed a word out!
 
#10
There has recently been a shift in Taliban strategy reported. It appears that some their more lunatic, and civilian slaughtering tactics and members have been reined in, and a new, more careful appraoch has been adopted.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/8472577.stm

The core Taliban are still ethnic Pashtuns, and however disagreeable to us, do represent a legitaimate strand of public opinion. (This excludes the Pakistanis, Uzbeks and so on who are just there for the ruck)

Both Karzai and the US have offered to engage with the Taliban recently, and I would not be surprised if they decide to start to come in from the cold. It makes them look like a legitimate power bloc, it allows them to portray the Americans as seeking a peace, and not them, (even if both sides want one) and, more importantly, it allows them to avoid getting caught up in the horrible mess in Pakistan, which is not the safe haven it once was.

It might be noted that of late, most of the Predator drones strikes in Pakistan have been knocking off Uzbeks and Pakistanis, and not Afghans.
I suspect that this is deliberate. The US wants to leave a functional Taliban Chain of command to negotiate with, but doesn't care about decapitating Pakistani groups. (in fact, it's probably doing this as a favour to the Pakistani government. It solves their problems, and the US can take the blame.)
 
#11
Whilist jihadist from outside Afgahnistan still flock to defend their 'faith' there (as they'ed get well mullahed anywehre else, if you pardon the pun) there'll never be 'peace' in the country.

I think the best the world can ecpect is a reduction in casualtie and troop numbers there.
 
#12
There comes a time when a foreign occupying force has to negotiate with the locals before departure. It makes sense to discuss with all local parties and especially those which clearly have a substantial following.

The Taleban may not be to our liking. They may not uphold or aspire to the standards of governance that 'we' do. But we cannot deny that they have political support and it is their own country.

The only reason we find the notion of discussions with the Taleban so vile is because of the narrative about them presented by 'our' political leadership who have 'bigged-up' their 'badness' to make 'our goodness' seem supreme.
 
#13
For those that don't remember, conflicts are all, ultimately settled by politicians and not by the warfighters. Were we "defeated" in NI? Don't think so.

As I've already said to a Pakistani friend, I'm just glad that this US administration can think in this fashion. Says a good deal about the intellectual differences between the previous and current inhabitants of the White House, I'd suggest.
 
#14
HectortheInspector said:
There has recently been a shift in Taliban strategy reported. It appears that some their more lunatic, and civilian slaughtering tactics and members have been reined in, and a new, more careful appraoch has been adopted.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/8472577.stm

The core Taliban are still ethnic Pashtuns, and however disagreeable to us, do represent a legitaimate strand of public opinion. (This excludes the Pakistanis, Uzbeks and so on who are just there for the ruck)

Both Karzai and the US have offered to engage with the Taliban recently, and I would not be surprised if they decide to start to come in from the cold. It makes them look like a legitimate power bloc, it allows them to portray the Americans as seeking a peace, and not them, (even if both sides want one) and, more importantly, it allows them to avoid getting caught up in the horrible mess in Pakistan, which is not the safe haven it once was.

It might be noted that of late, most of the Predator drones strikes in Pakistan have been knocking off Uzbeks and Pakistanis, and not Afghans.
I suspect that this is deliberate. The US wants to leave a functional Taliban Chain of command to negotiate with, but doesn't care about decapitating Pakistani groups. (in fact, it's probably doing this as a favour to the Pakistani government. It solves their problems, and the US can take the blame.)
Interesting comments hector. I have been reading for some time that spec ops in Afg had become so efficient there wasn't much of a hierarchy left to negotiate with. If true, this could indicate that a compromise solution acceptable to the West has been hammered out in smokeless rooms.
 
#15
whitecity said:
There comes a time when a foreign occupying force has to negotiate with the locals before departure. It makes sense to discuss with all local parties and especially those which clearly have a substantial following.

The Taleban may not be to our liking. They may not uphold or aspire to the standards of governance that 'we' do. But we cannot deny that they have political support and it is their own country.

The only reason we find the notion of discussions with the Taleban so vile is because of the narrative about them presented by 'our' political leadership who have 'bigged-up' their 'badness' to make 'our goodness' seem supreme.
If we are unable or unwilling to sustain casualties and take the fight to the Taliban, they will have the upper hand in any discussions and our bargaining power will be none. For that reason, fighting the Taliban to a standstill is necessary to set the conditions for successful peace talks.

Talking to the various enemy factions in Afghanistan is also a necessary part of drawing to a conclusion the war there. The footsoldiers may be in it for their 'faith' and to 'repel the invaders', but make no mistake - many of their leaders have simple ambitions of money and power.

We can either continue to fight a war that will never end, no matter how powerful our military - or we can play the smart game.
 
#16
in_the_cheapseats said:
For those that don't remember, conflicts are all, ultimately settled by politicians and not by the warfighters. Were we "defeated" in NI? Don't think so.

As I've already said to a Pakistani friend, I'm just glad that this US administration can think in this fashion. Says a good deal about the intellectual differences between the previous and current inhabitants of the White House, I'd suggest.
Just a minor correction there ITC - "... conflicts are all ultimately created and settled by politicians and not ...."

There is hardly a tribal leader in Afghanistan who hasn't been involved in some way with the Taliban or Mujahadin before them. Many are just continuing the fight because it is what they have allways done - and their fathers, grandfathers before them. Many in their parliament are ex-Taliban. I thing we should be pleased that the senior military commander realises that US military might cannot win the fight on its own (does go some way to focussing minds though). Talk of a US surrender is just stupid journalist headline grabbing
 
#17
That the US is pursuing peace with the Taliban shouldn't be seen as an admission of defeat in the conflict.

As has been identified by others we could be fighting each other to stalemate for decades to come and still not have a "victory". In addition - despite anything that we might feel about it - there are members of the Afghan populace who might wish to be represented in a parliament of sorts by Talibanesque types.
 
#18
nigegilb said:
Interesting comments hector. I have been reading for some time that spec ops in Afg had become so efficient there wasn't much of a hierarchy left to negotiate with. If true, this could indicate that a compromise solution acceptable to the West has been hammered out in smokeless rooms.
There are still too many of Mullah Omar's chums quartered outside Quetta for comfort.
Haqqani and even the unprincipled Hekmatyar can be talked to but the original Omar kernel needs cracking before an accommodation will be reached.
But, like the deal with Dost Md., we will leave the present Shah Shujah and his corrupt cronies to their fate.
However the really big fear remains Pakistan.
 
#19
RhodieBKK said:
nigegilb said:
Interesting comments hector. I have been reading for some time that spec ops in Afg had become so efficient there wasn't much of a hierarchy left to negotiate with. If true, this could indicate that a compromise solution acceptable to the West has been hammered out in smokeless rooms.
There are still too many of Mullah Omar's chums quartered outside Quetta for comfort.
Haqqani and even the unprincipled Hekmatyar can be talked to but the original Omar kernel needs cracking before an accommodation will be reached.
But, like the deal with Dost Md., we will leave the present Shah Shujah and his corrupt cronies to their fate.
However the really big fear remains Pakistan.
I guess my wider point being that on the one hand NATO talks about negotiating with soft Taliban, or not quite as bad Taliban and on the other hand a ruthless decapitation program rolls on in Afg. As though, we hadn't quite decided whether to continue with the possibility of a military solution, but kinda hoping there might be a political solution.

I still haven't the foggiest idea what is really going on, but the murmurs of a political solution are starting to pick up. That said, we need someone to negotiate with, someone who is genuinely representative and authoritative otherwise the negotiations will be a complete waste of space. Should the military assassinations cease for a while? You suggest otherwise..Have to say, the policy worked in Iraq, no question...

But then again the policy there was clear cut, when has anything been clear in Afg?
 

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