Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

WikiLeaks : Talks with the Taliban a non-starter

December 5, 2010


Afghan President Hamid Karzai may be pushing for talks with the Taliban in public as the only way to end the nine-year war, but in private he is as determined as the United States in opposing any place for top Taliban leaders  in a future government , the latest set of WikiLeaks documents show.  Those repeated calls for talks  are more aimed at sowing dissensions in the insurgent group than  any serious attempt for a negotiated settlement of the war. Indeed as The Guardian reports on the leaked comments on its website, so far as Karzai and the Obama administration are concerned, the only option open to the Taliban is surrender.

Which pretty much is a deal-maker, given that the Taliban having fought the world’s most advanced military formation to a virtual stalemate, have shown few signs of a compromise, much less  surrender.

“We have no illusion that Mullah Omar could ever join the government,” General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, is quoted as saying in a cable to Washington on 20 January 2009.  The general made the remarks during a conversation with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev who said he was concerned by Karzai’s bid to involve the Taliban in a post-war settlement.  Petraeus says Karzai’s position is more nuanced than that, and that the Afghan leader ‘s goal was to break up the Taliban, and reconcile some.

A year later another cable makes clear that the United States is remains fundamentally opposed to any deal with the Taliban. “There will be no power-sharing with elements of the Taliban,” Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan tells Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao citing the Taliban’s “unpalatable social programmes”and links with Al Qaeda.

Holbrooke said reconciliation should not be confused with reintegration of Taliban foot soldiers.  The reintegration programme is not a political negotiation designed to give Taliban elements a share of power, he said. The United States could not support any such deal.

In any case, he said, the Taliban themselves have shown no willingness to engage in talks.


Are you truly a news reporter > or USA hater? There is not any stalement here, if you understand the concept of what is going on. If you consider the Taliban post-shots that are dictionary-defined as terrorism, you will see they have failed and take action only in support of revenge, not winning in any case. All they are doing is creating the opportunity for government to set new laws that will infringe on some rights the people of Iraq should have and deserve, all because they are taking advantage of an army with MORAL. Once all Iraq people have the chance to learn on their own freedoms, they will grow to hate the vigilante of the Taliban.
obama… is another story. This is not about Obama, but some of your “leaked statements” LOL. What ever happened to the – REST – of the story. It takes a TRUE reporter to report Everything, not just what makes you happy. As far as reporting that the USA says Taliban will not have any… It is simply NOT the whole story. The UN council wishes nothing but the best for Iraq, and truly needs Iraq to be functional and stable. None of the millennium old conflicts based on nothing more than racism, religion, and tyranics, will benefit the people of Iraq. They do not needs this terror based vigilante group running around doing there deed. THIS is Obamas message. And this… is the rest of the story. Not as black as the reporter wanted it. Please stop targeting the USA, Do a benefit to IRAQ instead. They need it. There sister Iran is now a serious threat to them. They need all the help they can get. Not some political news reporter taking the mainset of the issue at hand.

Posted by Loofoo | Report as abusive

Pending approval… My comments do not serve as great of a purpose as the sites projection so implies. It has been rather worthless posting unpolitical, untargetting, unharrassing, innocent response to the hate of certain countries.

Posted by Loofoo | Report as abusive

Politics = Stability and take the excuse for war out of the equation. Very well developed theory of man, possibly one of the best systems on earth. True politics rest within Democracy. Winston Churchill: Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

You can complain about politics, but they are much better than the alternative. Politics are the reason you have food in your stomach. I am not sure which world country you are from, But I hope the best and I see democracy with its politics will get you a stable life and see your troubles through much easier, if you only let it.

(Response to ismailtaimur)

Posted by Loofoo | Report as abusive

where have you suddenly landed from? The article deals with Afghanistan and not Iraq!Now calm down and look at things as a realist.
. the shia leaders of Iraq supported the American invasion of Iraq. They are now struggling to bring back some sort of stabity.
. the Norther alliance minority supported the invasion of Afghanistan. The Pashtoons majority or the so called Talibans are in cotrol of afghanistan and the foreign forces over a quarter of a million,are just mucking about.

Winston churchil was not a God and was addressing the Brits not talking about Afghanistan, from where he was chased out after loosing two Afghan wars which Britain lost. In fact Lt. Winston Churchil lost his platoon and was the only survivor escaping during night darkness and on foot.

Now tell me, are you in disagreement with what I have so far said. If yes,then read no further.
Most of the countries of the world have some sort of democtaric system,in accordnce with their history and culture. In UK the crown is a non elected head of the left over rag tag democracy, scotland do not want to part of the country and about the Irish we know about. The germans have independent federal system and the swiss have a direct democracy on certain items. Afghanista Govt. on the other hand has very limited responsibility for its citizens, in terms of sevices and security.

Let us for the time being not talk about the American democracy which could raise my blood pressure. The problems between Iran and Arabs is centuries old and can only be solved by them. They do not need anyone’s help?

Now tell us what is troubling you?

Rex Minor

PS Obama syndrum in my view is fraud! If you have other view I respect it.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

This is the sort of Wikileaks information (in this case, it’s Wikileaks — might be some other outfit tomorrow) that makes me very uncomfortable.

I am an American, born and raised. However, unlike some of my fellow Americans — who certainly are entitled to hold and defend their views — I don’t think I need to know even the most private details of diplomacy, nor of advice and analysis from our senior military commanders.

Could President Nixon have initiated the opening of relations had then-Secretary of State Kissinger’s secret visit not been secret at all? We won’t ever know, since it was in fact a secret trip, but I’m convinced it would not have succeeded had it been being dissected by the commetariat.

that said, some of the items that have leaked out so far look just plain silly, leaving me wondering just why in the world they were ever classified in the first place.

Posted by MekhongKurt | Report as abusive

You are an american born and raised.Your name tells us that, but what is your background? Today’s americans are not indigenous people, your name Kurt say a German background,and other add ons tell a different story?
The so called silly documents represent the new cold war tactic, which the former NY senator and now secretary of state has unleashed against its own allies, is naive and still unprecedented.
The USA corrupt system has enabled Wikileak org to acquire these documents similar to the way that NY times and Washington Post have been in the past. The post sent in the diplomatic bag is always classified as ‘confidential’ regardless of its importance.
The info which is being published is apparently left to the news papers journalists, who are running the show in accordance withei biased political view of the world. Let us wait what more goodies or bad apples are going to come out of the basket?

Rex Minor

PS Pakistan facilitated the thaw between China and the USA and this was a great error on the part of Pakistan. Henry Kissinger visit to china was kept secret similar to Mr Obama recent visit to Afghanistan!

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see