Talking with the Taliban?
A concerted effort to start unprecedented talks between Taliban and British and American envoys was outlined today in a significant change in tactics designed to bring about a breakthrough in the attritional, eight-year conflict in Afghanistan.I think this is a left wing fantasy in the UK. The Taliban are not honorable people. There word is no good and they have a religious belief that it is their duty to lie to people of other faiths in order to achieve their objectives. They also have expressed no interest in any such talks, which makes the exercise look desperate and ridiculous. If the British left is so eager to get a fig leaf to cover their desire for retreat, I see no reason for the US to give it to them.
Senior ministers and commanders on the ground believe they have created the right conditions to open up a dialogue with "second-tier" local leaders now the Taliban have been forced back in a swath of Helmand province.
They are hoping that Britain's continuing military presence in Helmand, strengthened by the arrival of thousands of US troops, will encourage Taliban commanders to end the insurgency. There is even talk in London and Washington of a military "exit strategy".
Speaking at the end of the five-week Operation Panther's Claw in which hundreds of British troops were reported to have cleared insurgents from a vital region of Helmand province, Lieutenant-General Simon Mayall, deputy chief of defence staff, said: "It gives the Taliban 'second tier' room to reconnect with the government and this is absolutely at the heart of this operation."
The second tier of the insurgency are regarded as crucial because they control large numbers of Taliban fighters in Pashtun-dominated southern Afghanistan. The first tier of Taliban commanders – hardliners around Mullah Omar – could not be expected to start talks in the foreseeable future. The third tier – footsoldiers with no strong commitments – are not regarded as influential or significant players.