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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default Talking to or with the Taliban

    The current diplomatic exchange over the opening of a Taliban @ Doha, conceals IMHO the reality of the USA talking with the Taliban.

    My interest is in how those who have served, their families and thsoe who have lost sons and daughters will react. On KoW I found this relevant comment by Colin Powell, twenty years ago:
    They’re [the American people] prepared to take casualties. And even if they see them on live television it will make them madder. Even if they see them on live television, as long as they believe it’s for a solid purpose and for a cause that’s understandable and for a cause that has something to do with an interest of ours. They will not understand it if it can’t be explained, which is the point I have made consistently over the years. If you can’t explain it to the parents who are sending their kids, you’d better think twice about it
    From a 1996 interview by Barrie Dunsmore in ‘Live from the Battlefield’, in Pippa Norris (ed.), Politics and the Press: The News Media and Their Influences (London: Lynne Reiner, 1997), p. 261.


    How will politicians explain this policy?

    On a different aspect a new academic / think tank report:
    Talking to the Taliban: Hope over History? was written by a team of researchers from King's College London and Queen Mary University of London with expertise on Afghanistan, other negotiations with insurgent groups, and Anglo-American foreign policy. It provides a history of previous attempts to negotiate with Afghan insurgents during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and negotiations with the Taliban since the start of the NATO mission there in 2001.
    Link to report:

    They are not very optimistic:
    The report explains why previous negotiations have repeatedly failed to deliver any success or political breakthrough. It argues that attempts to talk to the Taliban in recent years have been characterised by wishful thinking and a lack of strategic direction.
    As one last attempt is made to negotiate with the Taliban, history suggests that a viable or sustainable peace settlement will be extremely difficult to achieve. If there is any chance of success, however, the first thing that negotiators should do is to learn from the failures which have characterised previous efforts at peace talks.
    From a short summary on an ICSR Insight:


    I have now found two similar threads: Negotiating with insurgents? Five posts in 2009 and Pulling Taliban leaders into government? Fifteen posts 2007-2008.

    There is a wider, larger thread Reconciliation and COIN in Afghanistan, two hundred posts plus 2008-2013,
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-20-2013 at 07:54 PM. Reason: Add Amendment

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