Wary Afghans mull possible Taliban peace talks

October 10, 2010

talibanLike many Afghans, shopkeeper Abdul Sattar recalls Taliban rule as a nightmare of public executions, women shut away at home and evenings without TV, but he might accept some of it back for peace and stability.

With President Hamid Karzai reaching out to insurgents in a bid to broker peace talks, the Kabul businessman says he would support a deal returning Afghanistan’s former hardline rulers to some measure of power if it brought an end to 10 years of war.

(Photo: Taliban militants after joining a government reconciliation and reintegration program, in Herat, March 14, 2010/Mohammad Shioab)

“The Taliban had some good rules and some bad rules,” Sattar said at his stationery shop. “If the government talks to the Taliban and they accept just the good ones, then it could work.”

For some Kabul residents a negotiated settlement with the insurgents, who have steadily gathered strength in recent years, may be the lesser evil — a way to rein in the most zealous of the movement’s tendencies.

With crime and corruption rife in the capital, some Afghan businessmen even look back to the Taliban era as time when graft at least was under control.

There are many outspoken opponents of talks. Civic rights and women’s groups are already worried a peace deal will sacrifice justice and rights for a fragile peace and allow the Taliban’s brand of fundamentalism to resurface.

Read the full story by Patrick Markey here. See also Ex-Afghan president to lead peace council about Afghanistan’s former President, Burhanuddin Rabbani, being chosen to lead a council tasked with starting peace talks with Taliban-led insurgents.

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