July 29, 2009

No Good Can Come From Negotiating With The Taliban

Seriously. Are the British really going to fucking talk and negotiate with the fucking Taliban? Sadly, it appears so.

For more than a year, British intelligence officers have been instigating contacts with Taliban commanders and their entourage. But their task has been very delicate given the sensitivities of the Karzai administration in Kabul {yeah, given the history of the Taliban to kill anybody not them, they damn well have a right to be concerned-ed.}.

The situation has been complicated further by the influx of hardline and ideologically motivated fighters joining the Taliban and other insurgent groups from across the Pakistani border {this sounds like 2002,2003,2004,2005,2006,2007,2008-ed.}.

But the fact that senior ministers and military commanders seized on the apparent success of Operation Panther's Claw to highlight the possibility of talks with the Taliban reflects their concern about the lack of progress so far in Nato's counter-insurgency. Significantly, and as if to counter public aversion to talks with the Taliban, ministers and military commanders alike compared the current campaign in southern Afghanistan to anti-terrorist operations in Northern Ireland.

A ComRes poll in today's Independent suggests most people now believe British troops should be pulled out of Afghanistan. Most of those who responded (58%) said the Taliban could not be defeated militarily, and 52% of those surveyed said troops should be withdrawn immediately. This compares with a Guardian/ICM poll earlier this month which showed that 42% of those surveyed wanted troops to be withdrawn immediately.

America's priorities in Afghanistan will be spelled out in a briefing paper drawn up by General Stanley McChrystal, the new US commander in the country, due to be handed to Barack Obama tomorrow.

He will emphasise the need for speeding up the training of Afghan troops, according to defence sources. He is also expected to ask for more troops from Nato allies. British military commanders are drawing up contingency plans to increase the number of British forces to more than 10,000 from the current 9,000.

Asked whether he needed more troops, Brigadier Tim Radford, commander of British troops in Helmand, replied: "I have enough forces to do what I set out to do in Panther's Claw."

The number of British troops that might be deployed in future was "out of my hands", he said. But he added that as the number of Afghan army recruits increased, the number of Nato forces required to train them also increased {and other than the US, Canada, and UK, the NATO troops are in the pacified areas, not the hotspots-ed}.

Miliband's call for talks with more moderate Taliban elements {hah!-ed.}was echoed later by Gordon Brown, who said: "Our strategy has always been to complement the military action that we've got to take to clear the Taliban, to threaten al-Qaida in its bases – while at the same time we put in more money to build the Afghan forces, the troops, the police."

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