Negotiation with the Taliban?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Grubby Bum III, Mar 5, 2011.

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  1. There is a lot of talk about the Western powers trying to reach a negotiated settlement with the Taliban. Is this an acceptable way forward?

    See Pakistan's only Christian minister killed. Copts massacred. Afghan convert sentenced to death. When will Britain wake up to Islam's persecution of Christians? – Telegraph Blogs

    It is clear from the assassination of this Pakistani minister that the Taliban have absolutely no toleration for anyone else's point of view. I think any talks are doomed before we even start them. Any thoughts?
  2. I watched an interview on Al Jazeera (in English) recently with an Afghani journalist. He was adamant that the Taliban would not go away, they were content to wait or negotiate with whatever, but it meant nothing as they would return to their hard line Islamic practices as soon as they were able. Democracy, as the West knows it, is just not on the agenda in that part of the world, any apparent excesses (in western eyes) such as the total subjugation of women and elimination of ANY other religion, are justified by their archaic, blinkered, intolerant religious views!

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    As they say: "You have the watches, we have the time." Unless we decide we want the Reinhardt Heydrich Award and all that goes with it, they can outlast us, it's as simple as that. We have to talk to them - they'll still be there when we're long gone.
  4. Nothing new,the British government have a long well proven history of talking/surrendering to terrorist groups.The list is a long one,most African countries when independence was granted,were run by those who had been terrorists or connected to them.The latest example of course being Bliars surrender to NORTHERN Ireland.
    As an aside Chamberlin came to an agreement with the Nazi government of Germany,so again,it's par for the British government to talk to the disreputable.
    The Americans and the French both found themselves being "outlasted"or worn down in Vietnam by the "indigs"being prepared to bide their time and inflict casualties that made the cost of remaining to high.Time has a different meaning to those who believe that their
    cause is the right one,they will wait forever and a day if that's what it takes.
    When Gerry Adams said "they haven't gone away you know"he could have been speaking for the Taliban,they have not,nor will they go away until they achieve their aim.
    Never mind talking to them,it's a waste of time and oxygen,pull out and let them live in their stoneage macho paradise if thats what floats their boat,or turn the whole place into a glass car park.
  5. Thanks. Your replies confirm my (and others') belief that we cannot win this confrontation. We have the professional loyalty of our troops to do their best but they cannot compete against those who will happily die for their religious (or other) beliefs. As Countymounty rightly says, they will not go away until they have achieved their aim.
  6. Ok. I'm doubtless going to get some incoming for this, but:

    The whole point of a COIN campaign is to convince the other side that they can't get what they want by bombs n bullets, and that they have to come to the negotiating table. At which point, shooting stops.

    As a particularly controversial example: In 1969 the British Army went in to NI to protect the Catholics, and ended up fighting a COIN campaign against a determined, competant enemy that was trying to eject the Brits from NI completely and establish a unified Ireland by force. Rather than fighting to restore the pre-Troubles status quo, HMG merely wanted peace in the Province, and preferably a bit of self-rule, so that Westminster MPs could go back to their expenses.

    Fast forward forty years. There is (mostly) peace in the Province, and it is ruled by Stormont, not Dublin. It really is as simple as that. Who won? We did. That's who.

    The key to making peace last in NI is to make the Catholics/Republicans/Sinn Feinn think that it is better for them not to fight. To do that, you have to talk to them. You have to let them have some power, and enmesh them in the bag of spaghetti that is local government - so long as it is on your terms. Inevitably, this is distasteful, and you have to let terrorist scumbags like McGuinness become politicians and make policy on things like policing, and this can look like capitulation and defeat, but it really isn't. NI is peaceful (ish), self-ruled by a democratically elected body, and part of the UK. Job done.

    I would say that talking to the Taliban is the furthest possible thing from a sign of failure in Afghanistan: it's essential for success and is a good sign - and it didn't take forty years. At risk of sounding pompous by quoting Churchill: Jaw-Jaw is better than War-War
  7. It's the only way forward.
  8. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Coupled with education, although how that is to be achieved I do not know.

    The situation in NI was different. Whatever was spouted from the pulpits on either side, the people were literate and got news from papers / TV / radio. In Afghan most of the population cannot read and their 'news' comes from the Mullah. To a lesser extent this was true in Iraq and the hinterlands of Iran.

    The turmoil in North Africa and the Gulf can be laid at the door of young, educated citizens who are media savvy and want the freedoms we enjoy in the west. When that day dawns, maybe Taliban will be seen as the anachronistic repressive bunch of loons we know them to be.

    Send in the teachers.
  9. Tricky. Which bit do you want to talk to first? This is just the lot working out of the Pakistan borders.

    IRIN Asia | PAKISTAN: A guide to main militant groups | Pakistan | Conflict | Governance

    Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan

    Area of operations: Traditionally, the Mehsud group of the TTP, which operates from bases in the tribal territory of South Waziristan; has spearheaded militant operations across the north. This changed after the death of leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone strike in August 2009. The TTP has since splintered, with new leader Hakimullah Mehsud operating mainly from his native Orakzai Agency. Other Taliban factions are based in the Khyber Agency and, according to media reports, in southern Punjab.
    Targets: Pakistani military personnel and civilians - typically suicide bombings of markets.
    Support base: The Mehsud tribe and other tribes loyal to it assisted by foreign militants.

    Mullah Nazir Group

    Area of operations: South Waziristan
    Targets: The Pakistani military and civilians, as well as US forces in Afghanistan.
    Base of support: The Wazir tribe near the town of Wana. The group maintains good relations with the Haqqani Network (see below) and has ties to Mullah Omar.

    Turkistan Bhittani Group

    Area of operations: South Waziristan
    Targets: Mainly engaged in a battle with the TTP after splitting from its former ally Baitullah Mehsud in 2007. It is believed to have occasionally targeted US forces in Afghanistan but not Pakistani military personnel or civilians.
    Base of support: The Bhittani tribe is the main source of support for leader Turkistan Bhittani. There have been suggestions the group may be backed by Pakistani forces against the TTP.

    Haqqani Network

    Area of operations: North Waziristan
    Targets: Almost exclusively US forces in Afghanistan.
    Base of support: The Zadran tribe in Afghanistan’s Khost Province.
    Widely respected as powerful Mujahedin by tribes across the north since the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet forces. Support from al-Qaeda and foreign militants; has ties with Mullah Omar, but plans strategy independently.

    Gul Bahadur Group

    Area of operations: North Waziristan
    Targets: Pakistani forces in North Waziristan and US troops in Afghanistan
    Base of support: The Wazir and Daur tribes in North Waziristan, especially near the town of Miram Shah.

    Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (North)

    Area of operations: All tribal territories, but especially Kurram and Orakzai where there is a Shia population - a minority Muslim sect.
    Targets: Pakistani civilians, especially Shias, and military personnel. Attacks on Western nationals in Pakistan.
    Base of support: Mainly anti-Shia militant groups from Punjab.


    Area of operations: Khyber Agency
    Targets: Pakistani civilians
    Base of support: The hard-line Deobandi Muslim sect; locked in a battle against militant rivals for control in Khyber.


    Area of operations: Khyber Agency
    Targets: US forces in Afghanistan
    Base of support: The Deobandi and Barelvi sects - especially less hard-line factions. Engaged in battles in Khyber with rival militants.


    Area of operations: Swat Valley, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province; attempts to assert influence in Dir.
    Targets: Pakistani civilians - especially government figures, including teachers - and military personnel.
    Social roots and base of support: Disillusioned members of Pakistani religious and political parties. The group was set up in 1992. Its involvement in more widespread militancy began after 2002, when key leaders were imprisoned after participating in `jihad’ in Afghanistan. It has split into various factions since then.

    Groups in Punjab

    The southern Punjab is a poverty-stricken, orthodox region - much like the north - but the rise of militant groups has followed a slightly different trajectory. Fierce anti-Shia sectarianism, and 'jihad’ aimed at Indian-administered Kashmir, is high on the agenda of these groups.

    The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Punjab)

    Area of operations: Countrywide
    Targets: Shia Muslims, non-Muslims, foreign nationals, state security forces
    Base of support: Sectarian groups in Punjab. It first emerged in the Punjab in the 1990s.

    Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan

    Area if operations: Countrywide with a concentration in the Punjab
    Targets: Non-Muslims and the Shia minority
    Base of support: Other sectarian groups and hard-line Muslim factions.


    Area of operations: Mainly Indian-held Kashmir and Afghanistan; some role in fighting in north. Headquartered in the southern Punjab
    Targets: Indian forces, Western nationals, non-Muslim Pakistanis
    Base of support: Backing from hard-line Muslim factions involved in violence in northwest Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan.


    Area of operations: Based in Punjab. Operates in Indian-held Kashmir and possibly Afghanistan
    Targets: Mainly Indian targets
    Base of support: Pro-`jihad’ and hard-line Muslim groups. Allegations of links to Pakistani intelligence agencies by media. Heavily involved in post-flood relief work and other charitable work.

    and notice it doesn't even mention AQ.

    The IRA were a 'Government in waiting' with structure and an 'Army Council'. There was something to talk to that had some discipline. The Taliban are a mob. If you negotiate with one bit, there's no guarantee at all that the guys in the next valley will hold to it. In fact, it's in their interest NOT to. They might get a better deal off you if they are still resisting.
  10. To get POWs out, etc, yeah. Nothing more than that. After the 2014 withdrawal if they take over withdraw the UK Consulate and have Afghanistan expelled from the UN and maybe officially dissolved. The Taliban, like many others, shouldn't be given credence and legitimacy in the first place.

  11. To quote someone who's name escapes me regarding NI; 'The Troubles ended because everyone was too busy polishing their new Mondeos'

    Education > less ignorance > better prospects > more income > better education - a virtuous circle.
  12. a complete waste of time, the taliban will not compremise in any kind of way
  13. For the Taliban, negotiation - assuming there is an actual coherent leadership in place - would be no more than a tactical ploy. Seeking to apply Western notions of negotiation and diplomacy to such people is not only naive, it's dangerous. The Taliban - and other sub-groups of Jihad International - regard negotiation, and the desire to negotiate, as a sign of weakness.

    I may be misquoting, but I recall hearing a quote attributed to Al-Qaeda - "We do not want to negotiate with you, we want to eliminate you".
  14. And Cell Phones services and cheap internet access for all. You might not even have to send in teachers. Hell even Somalia has a decent cell phone network, cheap, easy to maintain compared to copper, light power use and easy to guard. I'm not sure we need literate, I think txt will do. Expose the young to the internet for long enough and I suspect thye'll loose intrest in the Taliban preaching...

  15. Taliban ≠ Al Qaeda

    The reason the Taliban got so much traction in Afghanistan is because it brought the two things that the peasant farmers wanted.
    Subsistance farmers still living quite literally in the Middle Ages don't give a stuff about democracy and womens rights - what they do care about is not having ripped off by a constant stream of thieving police and petty officials and being allowed to tend their goats and crops in peace.