Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

An address for the Taliban in Turkey ?

December 29, 2010

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai has supported a proposal to open an office for the Taliban in a third country such as Turkey.  Such a move could help facilitate talks with the  insurgent group on reconciliation and reintegration of members back into society, and Kabul was happy for Turkey to be a venue for such a process, he said last week, following a trilateral summit involving the presidents of Turkey and Pakistan.

The question is while a legitimate calling card for the Taliban would be a step forward, the insurgent group itself shows no signs yet of stepping out of the shadows, despite the best entreaties of  and some of his European backers. The Taliban remain steadfast in their stand that they won’t talk to the Afghan government unless foreign troops leave the country. More so at the present time when U.S. commander General David Petraeus has intensified the battle against them and the Taliban have responded in equal measure.

Perhaps some elements of the Taliban may not be averse to the idea of a parallel engagement to the battlefield but then so amorphous and diffused is the nature of the group that it only complicates the picture further, as The Nation wrote in an editorial.

 Nevertheless, the idea of a representative office for the Taliban is a major step forward in efforts to seek a negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict, says Strafor’s Kamran Bokhari. First, it gives the Taliban the political legitimacy they have been demanding for years, he says. Second with Turkey jumping into the fray, the idea may not be that far fetched. While Pakistan may not be most credible partner in seeking a settlement given its close ties to the Afghan Taliban and other militant groups, Turkey carries enough weight both in the United States and the Islamic world to be able to nudge the different players along.

It has already played a similar role with respect to Iran.

 But of course there is a lot of ground to cover before any of this can materialise including the act of setting up an office for the Taliban. They do not represent an organisation in the classic sense of the word and you can’t really tell who speaks for them.

Secondly and perhaps most importantly, the Taliban’s ties to al Qaeda are the biggest stumbling block to any rapprochement. The Taliban’s connections to al Qaeda date back to before their ouster from power in 2001 following the Sept 11 attacks, and many of the senior leaders continue to have that kind of relationship with the global group, Bokhari says. That makes it difficult for the international community to accept them as a legitimate political entity.

(Photograph: Taliban fighters pose with weapons in an undisclosed location in Nangarhar province/Reuters)

Comments

@sanjeev
A correction. The so called taliban leaders are talking to the president of Pakistan, but not to the invaders. Those who have failed in their “Use of force” strategy do not deserve to be talked to as equals. This is the Pashtoons CODE and the one who breaks it is an outcaste!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

PS
correction.. the so called taliban leaders are talking to the President of Afghanistan, but not to invaders. They would be prepared to talk to President of Pakistan as well, but Mr Zardari , like his predecessor does not understand a word of Pashto!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

If the uniform is no uniform anyone walking out of the bacha bazi party, with a suspected al qaueda or taliban of the al qaueda like lifestyle is a legitimate target. Please no more reports of civilian casualties towns, villages or cities that does not require that THIER armed forces to be properly uniformed. If women and children in THIER culture are fit for service in their bomb laden vests or in the fields cutting poppy to support the war effort they are legitimate targets just like someone working in a bomb factory. If a Pashto finds the finacial physical security of these thugs to thier advantage then the Pashto must live whith the Pashtos choice and GOD will take care of his soul after we arrainge the meeting.

Posted by ROWnine | Report as abusive
 

@ROWnine,
So by your standards the the attack on the trade center was entirely a legitamate target, after all the people of the US stood behind the actions of their government in interfering in foriegn countries affairs (see Iranian revolution etc).
Also exactly what is it that you don’t understand about fighting a COIN war? Do you expect everyone to put on an easily identifiable uniform to fight foriegn invaders in thier own country? You are either a troll or a moron, maybe both.

Posted by jnoone | Report as abusive
 

@jnoone

I have not followed Rownine jibberish, but yours I did! Afghanistan or Pashtoons have nothing to do with trade centre bombings!!!

If the Pashtoons give asylum to a fugitive, they are never going to hand him over to any other power, no different than the assylum procedure in switzerland and many other european countries. The second rule is that while the fugitive is safe to live in a Pashtoons house, he is not to take offensive actions in other countries!

If the americans had understood these traditions fully and presented some evidence against Bin Laden group, they would have been more successful. They did not provide any evidence but used force to achieve their aims and we have ever since been witnessing the deaths of innocents in the dispute. The Americans did not provide any evidence to switzerland either and mr Polanski, the padofile was set free by the Swiss authorities. America is learning the hard way to respect the laws of other countries and cultures. America would not be able to disengage themselves from the wrath of Pashtoons for several coming generations. O’h yes, the vengence of Pashtoons lasts usualy for several generations.
Now be honest, who is the one in the kindergarten? Bush, Obama or Mullah Omar. Mullah Omar wants the Americans to stay in Afghanistn for as long as possible and fight the Pashtoon commandos so that future generations of Pashtoons would jump to the name of the ‘American’, as they do today against Russians and the Brits. Remember, lt. Churchil was the only one escaping at night from Afghanistan, while his platoon was massacred.

Have a good day in the new year.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

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