Pakistan talks up al Qaeda/Taliban split

December 7, 2010

british soldierPakistan is increasingly talking up the need for a political settlement in Afghanistan which would force al Qaeda to leave the region. And while there is little sign yet Washington is ready to hold serious negotiations with Afghan insurgents, analysts detect a new tone in Pakistani comments about driving Osama bin Laden’s organization out of its haven on the Pakistan border.

A senior security official said the Afghan stalemate could be lifted by setting a minimum agenda in which insurgents broke with al Qaeda. There were indications, he said, they could renounce the organisation and ask it to leave the region. Senior politician Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, a pro-Taliban member of the ruling coalition, also said a settlement “would squeeze the room for al Qaeda.”  ”Al Qaeda will have to fall in line or leave the region,” he told Reuters in an interview late last month.

Our story on this is here.

As discussed in the story, there is no evidence that the United States is ready yet for serious negotiations with Afghan insurgents – although over the course of this year it has become more open to the idea. Official sources outside Washington speak of widespread confusion over U.S. plans in Afghanistan, with the Pentagon in particular seen as pushing for ramped-up military operations and the State Department more open to exploring diplomatic solutions.

At the same time, some also speak of confusion over U.S. goals in Afghanistan.  This is significant because the confusion fuels conspiracy theories among those who suspect the United States has other motives for being in Afghanistan than defeating al Qaeda — its original reason for sending troops there after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Those conspiracy theories undermine U.S. efforts to win hearts and minds and feed a jihadi world view that they are engaged in a “David and Goliath” struggle against U.S. imperialism. And that in turn undercuts any gains the U.S. military might make on the battlefield in Afghanistan, or any public support it might hope to garner through financial aid to Pakistan.

By talking up the idea of a split between the Taliban and al Qaeda, Pakistan also appears to be trying to nudge the debate back into the original reason for the Afghan war. A senior security official said Washington should set “end conditions” for Afghanistan. A break with al Qaeda would be a requirement on which there could be no compromise. But concessions would have to be made on other U.S. preconditions for talks, which include a requirement that insurgents renounce violence and promise to respect the Afghan constitution.

Exactly how a Taliban/AQ split would work is unclear; as are the questions of if, how, and where al Qaeda leaders would go if they were forced out of their safe haven on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.  Nor is it clear what would happen to other al-Qaeda linked militants in Pakistan if for example bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri were to move. India in particular would be anxious that any political settlement in Afghanistan which forced out al Qaeda would  leave intact what it calls “the infrastructure of terrorism” in Pakistan.

Nonetheless, the idea of reframing the debate to look at end conditions rather than the means of getting there (from tanks to talks) is an interesting one.

Meanwhile more food for thought on the same theme:

Former British special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Sherard Cowper-Coles, argues in an article on the cables published by WikiLeaks that Afghanistan’s problems are political rather than military:

“The real tragedy about these telegrams is that they miss the point: that the entire western military effort in Afghanistan will in the end be for nothing unless it is part of a wider political strategy. Such a strategy should bring together all the internal parties – not just the Taliban – to a decades-old conflict, and systematically engage Afghanistan’s neighbours in gradually stabilising the country, from which the whole of south-west Asia would benefit.

“In that broader strategic perspective, debating troop levels in Helmand is a bit like arguing over how much aspirin to give a cancer patient. Garrisoning the town of Sangin more efficiently may produce more relief from pain (or violence). But without action to treat the underlying disease (which is political, not military), such relief can be only local, and temporary.”

Giles Dorronsoro at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says that the current strategy of defeating the Taliban militarily is unrealistic:

“Rather than committing more troops, the United States should instead pursue a political solution to the conflict, including a cease-fire and negotiations with the insurgents. By insisting on power-sharing among the various Afghan factions and reserving the right to intervene militarily to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a sanctuary for extremist groups, the United States can still accomplish the more limited objective of preventing the return of al-Qaeda.

“However, the United States must act quickly. Given the rapidly deteriorating security situation, every passing month strengthens the position of the Taliban. A viable exit strategy is still possible, but time is not on America’s side.”

Philip Mudd, a former deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, argues in a piece in Foreign Policy in favour of rethinking U.S. objectives in Afghanistan to return to their original focus of tackling the threat from al Qaeda after the Sept. 11 attacks:

“If our initial intervention stemmed from the attacks, should not follow-on decisions, such as whether to speak to the Taliban about reconciliation, relate directly to the al Qaeda fight? If we want to destroy al Qaeda, does our current strategy of isolating the Taliban — which has a far greater penetration of Afghan society and provincial life that we or the Kabul government ever will — make sense? It does if we want to build a civil society; it doesn’t if we want local Taliban leaders to limit an al Qaeda presence because it might interfere with their goal of creating an Afghan emirate.”

And finally, courtesy of Alex Strick van Linschoten, there is this.

Comments

kpsingh

” Is there any moderated forum where inter-faith discussions are held?”

*** although this is a rhetorical question, let me say that I have no idea nor I am interested in. Wish I had that much time!

Good idea!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

@ The mob
Religion is not the topic of this blog, but religion is the divide between India and Pakistan; it lead to partition and several wars, and it would seem that it is heading for a desastor. You have been poking your nose in all domestic matters of Pakistan and not even sparing the outsiders who show any sypathy for Pakistan. Now you have taken a step further by encroaching on the scriptures and its interpretations.

I have deliberately avoided to use the word ‘infidel’ and instead call people of non Ibrahimic faith as non-believers. Those who are guided by their brains and intellect, call it what you may, but not by the commandments of God are simply non-believers.

I could not care less about what Akbar did in his times nor have any time to consider his motives or explanations for his actions as a ruler or a muslim. We are all sinners and those who professed to be muslims, jews and christians believe in life after death and recognise the existence of evil in this world.

Religion is a matter of personal faith and individual experience. You can quote Quraan as you want, no one can impose on you otherwise, but by this act you are also challenging the faith of other muslims and risk being pronounced by the theologists as the ‘Infidel’. Your comparison Of Quraan with non-Ibramic religion alone places you outside the realms of Islam.

We all must learn to organise our knowledge which to an extent depends on the structure of the mind and not the world alone, and reflect our perceptions and the realism, without disregarding our moraä duties and responsibilities.
To blame our behaviour, which falls ouside the morals or laws of the society we live in, on one’s faith is mischievious and evil. The reality is that our actions do not correlate always with the religious or non religion teachings. People are blowing themselves apart and trying to hurt the innocents in every part of the world and this is not on account of their faith but reflect their grievences and the violence experienced by them or their families and could be associated with several other factors. These cannot be justified, and is the challenge of our times. The political use or misuse of the one’s faith is evil and needs to be confronted by the societies. And not try to interpret or reinterpret the scriptures.
our actions do not fully correlate with religious teachings, but definitely influenced by the political pundits of this world and the injustice and non social behaviour of many leaders.

Rex Minor

PS Try and google to find a blog for religions discussions.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Retard

STFU!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

“but by this act you are also challenging the faith of other muslims and risk being pronounced by the theologists as the ‘Infidel’. Your comparison Of Quraan with non-Ibramic religion alone places you outside the realms of Islam.”

***Retard, as I said Muslim scholars in India have done that (Akbar was just an example, you dumb!).

Oh boy! never seen anyone with a black hole in brain!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

KPSingh/Umair

My apologies to, inadvertently, disrupt your dialog yesterday!

It is stinking here so I am moving on.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

Islam does not recognise a pope or a scholar to represent the almighty. A theologist knows more than the non theoligist, similar to what the doctor of medicine knows more that the patient, no more.
The prophets have left us the scriptures and God has given us the brain, that you guys have been talking about all the time, a complete system to understand the entire universe and the galaxies and the ‘black hole’ and beyond. Surprisingly, brain is the only part which the humans make very minimum use of it during the life cycle.

We go to school to learn, attend Universites to firm our knowledge and prepare ourselves for PHD and more or adopt a working life to raise a family and earn one’s livelihood. We do no longer löok back to the teachers and the professors who taught us the basics but not the ultimate. We then stop and say the ultimate is known to God alone, others continue to learn and learn and keep on learning. Many unfortunate ones not having any education or a limited one, start saying at an early age that only God knows the ultimate.

You want to learn about the Quraan, then learn the arabic language first, live in Arabia to understand and comprehend the spoken and written language of arabs. Do not miss the five times prayers and learn with the help of a theoligist or a scholar if you will, who are ahead of you in Quraan studies. If God almighty then bestows upon you the enlightenment, you would be able to follow the versus of God almighty. This process in my view is more difficult than obtaining the Nobel Prize in science or medicine. Every student of quraan attains a certain level, some higher than other but not the ultimate.

How can one quote a higher authority than the Creator whose book one is blessed to read? No one has more power and knowledge than the God almighty. If one is able to appreciate this then there is hope for peace in this world. None of us has the right to speak for God or try to interpret the Quraan for others. The mission for the leaders of the country is to educate every one, freedom alone is not going to end this paranoie.

Rex minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Cave Mullah: “@ The mob
Religion is not the topic of this blog, but religion is the divide between India and Pakistan; it lead to partition and several wars, and it would seem that it is heading for a desastor.”

Religion was never an issue. It has been used for political purposes to achieve selfish goals. It is not new. It has been the case since time immemorial. Since you are blind and have no idea about history, you are simply ranting non-sense off. India-Pakistan tension today has nothing to do with Islam or Muslims. It has everything to do with a military cartel that has evolved into a monster over the years due to various reasons. Understand the reality first before you go mouthing off nonsense.

“You have been poking your nose in all domestic matters of Pakistan and not even sparing the outsiders who show any sypathy for Pakistan.”

Since when did you become the gate keeper for the affairs of Pakistan? Do we need your permission? You claim you are a German. So why don’t stay there and not poke your nose into the sub-continent. We are still here. We are the ones who have the right to determine our future.

“Now you have taken a step further by encroaching on the scriptures and its interpretations.”

I am waiting for your fatwa. Do not delay it. I will become famous if you issue one. This is public forum. One can write whatever he thinks is appropriate. Forget about my encroachment, you abusing the freedom of the public domain to excrete your warped garbage.

“I have deliberately avoided to use the word ‘infidel’ and instead call people of non Ibrahimic faith as non-believers. Those who are guided by their brains and intellect, call it what you may, but not by the commandments of God are simply non-believers.”

No one really cares what you think. So keep your cave garbage stuffed inside. We are only having a good laugh at your comical nonsense that you have been filling up these pages with.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“@ The mob, Religion is not the topic of this blog, but religion is the divide between India and Pakistan….”

Dr. Moron,
Why don’t you take your stupid & bigoted, stomach based thinking & confine yourself to your psychiatric ward because you certainly don’t belong in the NORMAL world. STOP making a fool of yourself, over & over!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@Rex
“You want to learn about the Quraan, then learn the arabic language first, live in Arabia to understand and comprehend the spoken and written language of arabs”

Ohhh I never knew Islam is propriety religion of Arabs. Rehmat/Umair is this true? I somehow find it really funny. Rexy is becoming more of a joker by the day.

@KP/Mortal/Others
Why are u asking Rexy to shut up? Dont you guys like to laugh. I say we continue our discussions and when Rex comes up with some laughter then take it and laugh for laughter is the best medicine.

@Religion
Ultimate goal of any religion is to make a soul happy within itself while maintaining harmony with other souls. Whatever may be the means. Islam or any other religion tries to attain this by different means as per prevailing conditions of time and place.

When Rexy boy doesn’t knows about other religions then how can we give credit to his knowledge that Islam/Christanity/Judaism are only religions worth following and all others are infidels. Let him live in his false imaginations. Lets just pray that his imaginations do not pose a danger to others or himself.

But on a serious note the ‘INFIDELS’ LIKE Rex are the ones who pose a danger to peace. Beware all; Pashtoon coming!!!

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

@777
If I were you, I would take the advice of Brian decree. You certainly need help and take Singh with you!

Rex Minor
PS Brian reckoned that you are sick and need help, but I am giving you the benefit of doubt and blaming your education system, since most of you are following a certain pattern of rudeness when you are unable to comprehend a simple sentence. This is a Reuters Blog and not meant for people of your class.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Cave Mullah: “This is a Reuters Blog and not meant for people of your class.”

True. When people of your caliber are flooding the blog, it does not seem appropriate for people of our class. But we have to do what we have to do because you guys build history with lies. If not checked, you guys can make the world buried under fabricated lies. That is why we come here.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“Why are u asking Rexy to shut up? Dont you guys like to laugh. I say we continue our discussions and when Rex comes up with some laughter then take it and laugh for laughter is the best medicine” Posted by 777xxx777

After a while, nonsense becomes less funnier & more annoying.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

I thought we were done with religion.

Guys, obey the rules which you make.

@777: There is a lot I would like to say but would not. That would involve back and forth posts for which I am not ready.

HOWEVER, I would like you to modify this: “Beware all; Pashtoon coming!!!” He has impressed many that all Pushtoons behave like Taliban. One need to be careful. He uses this strategy many times.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

@Rex
“If I were you, I would take the advice of Brian decree. You certainly need help and take Singh with you!”

I laughed him off as I laugh you off often. Let the moderators decide who needs help. If you call people of other faith an infidel just because other persons do not follow your religions then we all know who needs help.
BTW yo always shout that you have no sympathy for losers and since US is loser in Afghanistan so US does not deserve sympathy; fine; then may I know why you sympathize with Pakistan which has lost not 1 or 2 but 4 wars to India??
Thats the problem with lying, Lies become inconsistent over a period of time and so is your case. Don’t bother answering, I expect you to run away from difficult questions as usual.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

@Rehmat
“He has impressed many that all Pushtoons behave like Taliban. One need to be careful. He uses this strategy many times”

I am copy pasting once again here what i typed: “Beware all; Pashtoon coming!!!” Did I say Pashtoon or Pashtoon(s)?? I hope that small ‘s’ makes a difference given the context. Normally I double check every single word I type before hitting the Submit button. But still if you feel my sentence needs moderation then I accept it whole heartedly. :)
Personally I respect Pashtoon tribe (of course the sensible ones) very much. One of the most toughened human beings probably of equal caliber as Mongols. Some of the finest people of the world are Pashtoons. And one of them even vehemently opposed the very idea of Pakistan and probably people like Rex might have called him an infidel and kaafir but he stayed firm on his stand till end. Ups and downs are part of every country’s history but that does not mean the cultural contributions go waste. So I agree with you that all Pashtoons are not Rex. And some like Rex are there in all communities be it hindu, muslim, jew or any other.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

@777
You should not laugh at people when they call you Sick. If you are not what Brian assumed from your note than say so and clarify it. I noted that he was genuine in his assessment. I have found him and kingfisher, one of the few with a very high caliber of intellect and experience. You guys are unique in the world communities, with a mob mentality, very difficult to follow you, not many had the experience to live in a land occupied by a foreign force for centuries. You guys sound very angry as if you are under attack, very jumpy not prepared to accept critic.

To answer your question, I have no sympathy with Pakistan on two grounds,namely use of military against civilians and having lost the battles or wars against India. Even worst, having surrendered its army.
India has copied Pakistan, use of military against civilians. sikhs and kashmiri muslims and then lost its claimed territory against China.
Hard but fair, facts are there and stay if not denied. I have had comments from an ex pakistani military man, outlining the reason for military setbacks. I have no feelings for reasons of defeat. both militaries have been trained to follow the Montgomery doctrine for attack, defence and withdrawl, so simple are the reasons.

And still the rhetoric by both Pakistani and Indian leaders, threatning each other with consequences.

It is not difficult to determine the level of ones education and the upbringing. Try to learn what does a lie implies? Deception is a lie, I am not here to deceive any one far I do not have any motive. We are in the milinium of the knowledge society, each of us learning from another and collectively and this I am afraid I do not notice among the Indians in this blog. There are no lies in this world, different views and opinions and observation and analysis. Deceptions and propaganda are made up of lies. Misinformed people are not liars but misinformed or have a paranoie. I do not check or recheck the words and spellings. I have very little patience with people of a lesser education and intellect background, particularly when they become rude and call others with different views as ignorants. Indians on this blog must learn to live with people of other views and opinions.
Regarding your second question, there were many who opposed vehmently as you call it the idea of Pakistan. I have answered it to one of your other inquisitive fellow citizen. The khan bros were popular leaders in their tribe. Every one must learn to accept the majority views, no matter how wrong they could be.

Rex Minor

PS Now do not come back and ask further questions. stick with your comments on the article. I have broken off diplomatic relations with others.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@777
Sorry, I forgot to comment on pashtoons and talibans. They are the one people!
Today, the talibans i.e. students in Britain, France and Italy are violently demonstrating against the current Govts. against their austerity decisions. The students have the support of the public who in most cases join them. They are all one people.
You guys are living in the neighbourhood of and shouild know that all the Pashtoons who are rebelling and taking arms against Pakisdtan are themselves calling themselves as Talibans, the label which was once used by the Taliban movement and then later became the common denomination of the foreigners and today it has become the common denomination of all the resistence groups. If you guys do not understand this then I have nothing more to converse with you lot. Keep using the American terminologies splitting hairs. We have used the word ‘communist’ in Europe and ‘liberal’ in the USA to describe those who are not conservatives. The twelve million communist germans who joined us are no longer communists and for some time we called them ‘the easterns’ and now we do not even call them with this name.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Rex
On one hand you say it is a world of opinions and on other hand you try to belittle everyone who does not agree with your opinions. Making stupid comments on intellect and education and religions is considered rude in our culture. If you cannot respect our culture then how can you expect respect for yourself from us. One should not raise his voice but improve his argument. You keep on telling all the negatives about India and Pakistan and we kept accepting them but on the side we kept telling you that things are improving, may be slowly to your taste but we are what we are. And then you start slinging mud. I am sure German education does not teach that. I remember you kept on typing my name as “@ three 7″ and then lectured me on not getting personal. Haa. Take your own advice and start accepting disagreements to your opinions and try NOT making comments on religion, education, intellect, etc of the other person. At least TRY!

“The twelve million communist germans who joined us are no longer communists and for some time we called them ‘the easterns’ and now we do not even call them with this name”

Unlike Germany and Pakistan, in India we never called migrant people from Pakistan with any names.

” If you are not what Brian assumed from your note than say so and clarify it”

Laughing off is considered a rejection and a clear clarification beyond any doubt in our culture. So if you do not understand that then I am telling you that now.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

@777
Let me agree with your comments and move on! Things are as they are, be happy.

Rex Minor

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 http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •