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Taliban want US withdrawal deadline in writing



With the formation of the High Council for Peace in Afghanistan, there have been calls for the US to show some good faith to move the reconciliation process forward. Some call for releasing more detainees from Guantanamo, while others suggest more bad guys may be removed from the UN's Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee Consolidated List. Now, the Taliban are suggesting yet another way for the US to show good faith.

Previous Taliban statements, both official and from approved spokespersons, have been clear: "We don't talk until foreign troops leave." A few have hinted at something short of that, such as: "Nobody would believe such talk unless foreign troops in Afghanistan act honestly, announce clear and transparent plans for addressing the issue, and announce there is clear platform about the presence of foreign troops," [here]. Now, we see this in an unsigned statement on the Taliban's Voice of Jihad web site [direct link to statement here, link to copy of statement at Scribd.com here, emphasis mine]:

.... The reconciliation propaganda launched by the Americans and the Kabul Puppet Administration is meaningless in the light of this hard fact that how can reconciliation be materialized in condition of presence of more than one hundred thousands foreign troops , being armed with motley of weapons, aircrafts (sic.), missiles, tanks and other warfare hardware. The rationale for reconciliation can be only convincing when, at least, the invading Americans put signature on a document before the people of Afghanistan and the world, binding them legally to withdraw their forces from Afghanistan in a given time-frame ....

While not signed by the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan," the presence of this statement on the Taliban's page suggests at the very least that the Taliban endorse the idea.

The glass-is-half-full view: This appears to be the first statement of a clearly identifiable condition to possibly bring the Taliban to the negotiating table that could be achieved without foreign troops leaving first. This could be seen by some as an "olive branch" to Western forces, allowing them to stay in country while showing a bit of good faith.

The glass-is-half-empty view: It's not surprising the Taliban would like the idea of a firm end date for foreign troops to be out of the country. Those with less faith in Taliban "good faith" will see that as a mobilization deadline for insurgents to ramp up to, even if talks were under way.

One never knows what might or might not be offered by Taliban envoys in "the talks that are always denied," but I have yet to see, hear, or read about any "good faith" gestures offered by (or sought of) the Taliban to show they are willing to put down their weapons and peacefully participate in Afghan civil society.

Until that happens, I continue to bet my money on the "glass-half-empty" analysis.



READER COMMENTS: "Taliban want US withdrawal deadline in writing"

Posted by blert at October 18, 2010 4:14 PM ET:

An in your face hudna proposition.

That the MSM it still completely clueless WRT islamist strategy and tactics is a bleeding sore.

The correct strategy is to put the campaign on a slow simmer and eliminate any withdrawal tempo based upon what the opfor wants or suggests.

The more we wish for normality and peace the less we will get it. These fellows are brigands. Without anarchic war they've got nothing left to do.

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The U-boat campaign looked endless and bloody right up until the boats became findable. Then they whimpered out. Because of secrecy and delay times, the U-boat captains didn't realize how hopeless it was until months after the fact.

This is where we are now. The Taliban is suffering in the field at a tempo the rear areas can't imagine. So it looks like they all want to come out to play. Sometime next year the battle losses are going to filter back to base camp.

That's the advantage of an illiterate army.

Posted by davidp at October 18, 2010 5:39 PM ET:

The good faith gesture, to show that the U.S. is serious about reconciliation, should be to kill a few hundred more non-reconciled Taliban.
What the enemy hate is shown by what they ask for as a pre-condition. You should only give it up once the enemy takes actions in the right direction.

Posted by Cordell at October 18, 2010 6:59 PM ET:

Perhaps we should ask the Taliban as a good faith gesture to release all Western prisoners, including a U.S. soldier, that they currently hold. The Pakistanis appear to have already released Mullah Baradar, a huge catch, to facilitate talks.

This whole affair of peace talks is beginning to sound more and more like Vietnam; the U.S. withdraws followed by a decisive offensive surge by the enemy.

Posted by Render at October 20, 2010 6:51 AM ET:

"...more than one hundred thousands foreign troops, being armed with motley of weapons..."

That descriptive could work for the al-Q/Taliban as well, the puppet army of the ISI.

STATEMENTS
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Posted by Soldier at October 20, 2010 9:46 AM ET:

Wow. I can't believe that the Taliban wants it in writing. Why so when we leave they can start destroying schools and burning women? No damn way.

Posted by Charu at October 20, 2010 11:09 AM ET:

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

@blert, great analogy! Predator drone attacks are a technological game-changer like tanks were in WWI or carriers in WWII, and we should press our advantage to the fullest while the enemy is in disarray.