I haven’t written about the so-called negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban because there is so much contradictory information in the press on what exactly has occurred so far that, as with past negotiations, it is very likely little has happened other than the making of some cursory contacts. The conflicting press reports on who has met whom, and when, smack of a well-crafted information operation designed to divide-and-conquer the Taliban. So good that the Quetta Shura and Mullah Omar himself have threatened to execute anyone involved in talks.
But, according to this report in The Associated Press, which I am told by a trusted source is accurate, the Taliban aren’t even interested in cutting ties with al Qaeda:
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister says Riyadh has halted mediation efforts between the Afghan government and the Taliban because the fundamentalist movement has refused to break ties with al-Qaida.
Prince Saud al-Faisal spoke Saturday after a meeting with his Italian counterpart.
Last February, Afghan President Hamid Karzai sent a small delegation of former Taliban members to Saudi Arabia to seek help in kick-starting talks with the Taliban.
But the Saudis said the kingdom would not help unless the Taliban severed all ties with Osama bin Laden – a Saudi – and his al-Qaida terror network. That is also a key demand of both the U.S. and Afghanistan.
The Taliban is unwilling to hold formal peace talks until the U.S. agrees to a timetable to withdraw all foreign troops.
And this raises a question. If there are only 50 to 100 al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, as top US intelligence officials have claimed (and we here at LWJ have disputed from day one) why are the Taliban so unwilling to cough them up?
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