Karzai: US in peace talks with Taliban

Party Rooster

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Great. Just "talking" with our enemies...:icon_cool

18 June 2011 Last updated at 17:36 ET

Afghanistan's Karzai: US in peace talks with Taliban

Afghan police at scene of Kabul suicide attack President Karzai's comments came hours before an attack on a police station.

The US is engaged in talks with the Taliban, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said, in the first high-level confirmation of US involvement.

Mr Karzai said that "foreign military and especially the US itself" were involved in peace talks with the group.

Hours later, suicide bombers attacked a Kabul police station, killing nine.

Earlier this month, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said there could be political talks with the Taliban by the end of this year.

The US is due to start withdrawing its 97,000 troops from Afghanistan in July.

It aims to gradually hand over all security operations to Afghan security forces by 2014.
Summer of fighting

"In the course of this year, there have been peace talks with the Taliban and our own countrymen," Mr Karzai told a Kabul news conference on Saturday.

"Peace talks have started with them already and it is going well. Foreign militaries, especially the United States of America, are going ahead with these negotiations."

The heart of Kabul was a battleground.

Suicide bombers attacked a police station just half a mile from the presidential compound where, hours earlier, President Karzai was talking about hopes for peace.

Talks with the Taliban have started. These though are just contacts, talks about talks, rather than substantive negotiations.

Quick results are unlikely. Nato, the Afghan government and the Taliban themselves all expect another summer of hard fighting and probably many more.

If President Karzai is right though, it appears that one important thing has changed - the Taliban have always maintained that they would not negotiate until foreign troops left. It seems that position is starting to soften.

He gave no details as to whether the discussions involved Taliban officials with US authorities, or a go-between.

Shortly after the announcement, a number of suicide bombers attacked a police station near the finance ministry in the Afghan capital. The interior ministry said there were three bombers, but other officials said there were four.

The Taliban said they carried out the attack.

The Afghan interior ministry said nine people were killed: five civilians, three police officers and one intelligence official. Twelve people - 10 civilians and two police - were also injured. The attack has now ended.

''A group of suicide attackers got inside police district one," Mohammad Ayub Salangi, Kabul's police chief, told the BBC. "We surrounded the area.''

One of the bombers detonated his suicide vest, while two others were shot dead by police. Some reports said a fourth bomber was killed in an exchange of fire with security forces.

The BBC's Paul Wood in Kabul says the attack is part of the Taliban strategy to strike at the heart of government.

Paradoxically, he says, the greater the likelihood of peace talks, the more Nato and the Taliban will press their military campaigns in a bid to ensure they go into negotiations with an advantage.

Meanwhile, insurgents attacked two convoys supplying Nato troops in the eastern province of Ghazni, police said. Four Afghan security guards escorting the trucks were reportedly killed by roadside bombs.
Sanctions list split

The Taliban's official position regarding peace talks is that it will only negotiate once international forces leave Afghanistan, and that it will only talk to the Afghan government.

Click to play

The UN's Richard Barrett said the talks were unlikely to involve the higher levels of the Taliban

Diplomats have previously spoken of preliminary talks being held by both sides in the continuing conflict.

A US state department spokeswoman in Washington said she had "no comment" on Mr Karzai's statement, but added the US had consistently supported an Afghan-led process of reconciliation".

"Currently, we have a broad range of contacts across Afghanistan and the region, and at many levels, to support that effort," spokeswoman Megan Mattson told Agence France-Presse.

The UK said it supported "Afghan-led efforts to reconcile and reintegrate members of the insurgency who are prepared to renounce violence, cut links with terrorist groups, and accept the constitution".

"In view of the death of Osama Bin Laden, it is time for the Taliban/insurgency to positively engage in the political process," said a statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Col Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said there was currently no prospect for successful peace talks with the Taliban.

"The only possibility that could happen is if they as a movement are defeated and there's no prospect of that happening in the near future."

He said the objective of international forces in Afghanistan should be to encourage malleable elements of the Taliban to split away from the hard-core leadership of Mullah Mohammad Omar, thereby weakening the group.

On Friday, the UN split a sanctions blacklist for the Taliban and al-Qaeda, to encourage the Taliban to join reconciliation efforts.

Before now, both organisations have been handled by the same UN sanctions committee.

The UN Security Council said it was sending a signal to the Taliban that now is the time to join the political process.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan before being driven from power by US-backed forces in 2001.

It had sheltered al-Qaeda and its leader, Bin Laden.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13821452
 

Token White Guy

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Oh noes! It's not like we never talked to the British, Germans, and others we've waged way with. But these savage animals only know how to run head first into a bullet.
 

lajikal

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Hasn't karzai brought this up every year for the last several years
 

OilyJillFart

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I suppose it's a good thing to have on record that we tried.
As long as nobody's surprised when it doesn't do shit.
 

VMS

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Oh noes! It's not like we never talked to the British, Germans, and others we've waged way with. But these savage animals only know how to run head first into a bullet.
Inherent to peace talks is the assurance that any agreements that would be reached would also be adhered to. Inherent with our wars against the British, Germans, etc. has been an adherence to the Rules Of War (it's at least in part why we pushed for unconditional surrender of the Japanese, who didn't adhere to any Rules Of War).

Terrorists, by definition, don't adhere to the Rules Of War. If they did, they would be properly classified as guerrillas, not terrorists. If the people you're fighting don't follow any set of agreed-upon rules, then any negotiations are just a waste of time.

If you can't trust them to stick to what your agreements, what's the point of talking to them in the first place?

Other than peeling off the less-crazy portion of the Taliban, this is just a waste of time and gives these retards legitimacy.
 

Token White Guy

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Inherent to peace talks is the assurance that any agreements that would be reached would also be adhered to. Inherent with our wars against the British, Germans, etc. has been an adherence to the Rules Of War (it's at least in part why we pushed for unconditional surrender of the Japanese, who didn't adhere to any Rules Of War).

Terrorists, by definition, don't adhere to the Rules Of War. If they did, they would be properly classified as guerrillas, not terrorists. If the people you're fighting don't follow any set of agreed-upon rules, then any negotiations are just a waste of time.

If you can't trust them to stick to what your agreements, what's the point of talking to them in the first place?

Other than peeling off the less-crazy portion of the Taliban, this is just a waste of time and gives these retards legitimacy.
That is why the only way to win is to wipe the Taliban out completely, which isn't possible because of the disorganization in their structure and Pakistan is no help either. The best thing to do is push the Jihadists into Pakistan's FATA, and have ANA & ANP man bases near the boarder.
 

lajikal

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The best thing to do is push the Jihadists into Pakistan's FATA, and have ANA & ANP man bases near the boarder.
that might work, if the ana weren't also the taliban and the anp weren't local scared youngins trying to make some cash to feed their family.
 

TheDrip

I'm bi-winning.
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So, in other words, Karzai has finally loaded his bank account up to the point where he's allowing his Taliban underlings to come to the bargaining table. It's about time.
 

Token White Guy

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that might work, if the ana weren't also the taliban and the anp weren't local scared youngins trying to make some cash to feed their family.
The most loyal fighters are from the Northern Allience, Afghan SOF that work with ISAF SOF, and tribes that have a blood feud with the Taliban.
 

VMS

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That is why the only way to win is to wipe the Taliban out completely, which isn't possible because of the disorganization in their structure and Pakistan is no help either. The best thing to do is push the Jihadists into Pakistan's FATA, and have ANA & ANP man bases near the boarder.
I've said it for a while, now: IMO there are only two workable strategies for Afghanistan.

Option 1: small hunter-killer teams in the mountains to take out the Taliban, small garrisons of US (or, eventually, ANA) troops in the various villages, 3-4 airmobile (helicopter) battalions around the country ready to support the garrisons if they're seriously attacked (each battalion with an alert company ready to go), and a ton of hearts-and-minds work with engineering battalions, training for the ANA and ANP, so the Afghanis can slowly get their shit together. From invasion to majority pull-out, we're talking 20-25 years, minimum. We'd probably have to leave the airmobile and a fair percentage of the hearts-and-minds people, but the garrisons could be turned over to the ANA in that time.

Which is essentially what the Bush plan was for 7 years. I really don't know what President Obama's Afghanistan Surge is doing, except making a lot of noise. Afghanistan isn't a problem you can throw troops at. At least, not the kind of troops we're sending there.

Option 2: exact same thing as Option 1, except instead of small hunter-killer teams in the mountains we fully mobilize the 10th Mountain, 82nd Rangers, 101st Airborne, the Ranger battalions, and maybe even a MEU or two and go border-to-border with them. All troops activated for the duration, no more of the 1 brigade-in-theater, 2 brigades-refitting game. From invasion to pull-out (same terms as above), it would have taken maybe 5-10 years from invasion to majority pull-out.

Oh, and for the record, Iraq wouldn't have had a major effect on that process, either: the problem would have been having the political will to keep 5-6 divisions worth of troops fully activated and in combat without coming back home for 5-10 years.
 

lajikal

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The most loyal fighters are from the Northern Allience, Afghan SOF that work with ISAF SOF, and tribes that have a blood feud with the Taliban.
yeah sof is capable but they're about 10k pax with a lot of support from us/nato and taliban at 25k+ with deeper pockets and support.

in the end, history repeats itself.
Risks of Reversing the Afghanistan Surge
By DAVID E. SANGER
Published: June 19, 2011

For the last year, the Pentagon has been presenting numbers to show that transfer is taking place. But plot those on a map, and it becomes clear that with a few notable exceptions, the transfer has happened largely in areas not hotly contested with the Taliban. In their more candid moments, Mr. Obama’s aides acknowledge there is little evidence that the Afghan government will be ready to control the fought-over territory in the south by the end of 2014, the date set for the withdrawal of all NATO forces.

“It’s been painfully slow,” one of Mr. Obama’s aides said recently, noting that the United States pays more to train the Afghan army and police than Afghanistan spends on its entire government budget. “But we’re learning to live with ‘good enough.’ ”

As he prepares to make a decision this time, Mr. Obama is facing a set of political pressures that were more muted when he ordered the surge in 2009. In his West Point speech, he talked of containing the costs of the war; since then, spending has mushroomed to $2 billion a week, a price that seems even more crushing now, in an age of painful austerity, than it did then.

Public rants by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, describing the Americans as “trespassers and occupiers” in the country for their own purposes, have come at a particularly delicate time — just as Mr. Obama must make the case that the commitment of tens of thousands of troops should continue for years. That may explain why the American ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl W. Eikenberry, shot back at Mr. Karzai so directly on Sunday.

“When we hear ourselves being called occupiers and worse, and our generous aid programs dismissed as totally ineffective and the source of all corruption, our pride is offended and we begin to lose our inspiration to carry on,” he said.

The tension with Mr. Karzai is not new. But the latest eruptions are feeding into an atmosphere in which Mr. Obama appears to be looking for rationales to explain why a conflict he called a “war of necessity” two summers ago may no longer be as necessary.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/world/asia/20assess.html
 

Party Rooster

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Hasn't karzai brought this up every year for the last several years
This time Gates is confirming it a bit...

Sec. Gates: U.S. engaged in 'preliminary' peace talks with the Taliban
By: CNN's Rebecca Stewart

Washington (CNN) – The United States has been engaged in peace talks with the Taliban, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, 11 days before he is set to resign.

"There's been outreach on the part of a number of countries, including the United States," he said. "I would say that these contacts are very preliminary."

Gates affirmed that "a political outcome is the way most of these wars end" and described the communication as being handled by the State Department for "a few weeks, maybe."

"Who really represents the Taliban?" he asked. "We don't want to end up having a conversation at some point with somebody who is basically a freelancer."

As Gates described the early stages of communication, he asserted that any kind of resolution will take time.
"My own view is that real reconciliation talks are not likely to be able to make any substantive headway until at least this winter," he said.

Among the conditions required by the United States of the Taliban: complete disassociation from al Qaeda and "meeting the redlines that President Karzai and the coalition have laid down."

And to Americans who may be "war weary" Gates points out, "I understand we have been at war for ten years, but we have not been at war full-scale in Afghanistan except since last summer."

"The reality is the United States had a very limited commitment in Afghanistan until well into 2008. And we didn't have the right strategy and the right resources for this conflict," he said.

"I understand everybody is war weary. But the reality is we won the first Afghan war in 2001-2002. We were diverted–by Iraq. And we basically neglected Afghanistan for several years," the secretary continued.

Gates, who has served as Secretary of Defense since 2006, believes that the Taliban must "feel themselves under military pressure" by winter 2011 for the talks to be successful-which seems at odds with the president's plans to begin troop withdrawal in July.

"Whatever decision (President Obama) makes, we will have a significant number of troops remaining in Afghanistan," Gates stated. "We've make a lot of progress over the last 15 months."

But he also countered, "We can do anything the president tells us to do. The question is whether it's wise."
One certainty remains for the secretary, who is also the only holdover from President George W. Bush's Cabinet: an end to U.S. combat presence in Afghanistan isn't complicated.

"How this ends is essentially the same way that it ended in Iraq-with us playing a key role for some period of time…this transition to Afghan leadership so that they can keep control of their own country, so that al Qaeda can no longer find a safe haven in Afghanistan, and so the Taliban cannot forcibly overthrow the government of Afghanistan-that doesn't seem that hard to me for people to understand," he said.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.co...nary-peace-talks-with-the-taliban/?hpt=po_bn2