Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
If you listened to some of the rhetoric in the lead-up to Thursday’s conference on Afghanistan in London and followed the coverage accompanying it, you would think it is a meeting of the victors of war.
Here we are, at a meeting attended by representatives from more than 50 countries, offering the Taliban a chance for peace before the “surge” of 30,000 additional U.S. troops hits them. They better grasp it before the tide turns decisively against them, seems to be the message. Host British Prime Minister Gordon, according to this report, vowed to “split the Taliban” while offering them a full part in the rebuilt Afghanistan if they united behind the government in Kabul.
Britain along with Japan will launch a fund at the conference, expected to total up to $500 million over the next five years, as part of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s plan to lure away mid-to low level Taliban fighters from the insurgency.
The only problem with all this is the “vanquished” Taliban have not yet taken the bait. Indeed they don’t look like the vanquished, especially after making 2009 the worst year for foreign forces since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. As this piece here notes, many of the nations heading to Thursday’s conference attended a similar one, in Bonn, soon after the defeat of the Taliban more than eight years ago. They were victors then; today they are “terribly fatigued and almost bled white.”. It is not the Taliban but the most powerful nations on earth who are seeking out the insurgents to talk peace.