Friday, April 22, 2011

Talks with Taliban by R Maryam

U.S. President Barack Obama is open to the idea of reaching out to moderate elements of the Taliban, The New York Times reported on Saturday. Many ordinary Afghans remain deeply uncomfortable with the idea of reconciling with the Taliban. The Karzai government advocates talking to the Taliban, but this is far from the will of the Afghan people, who have lived amid the violence and intolerance for years and they are far less naive than those in the West about their destructive intentions. From all accounts Taliban are even more extremist today than they were before. Violence is also at its highest in Afghanistan since U.S. led forces toppled the Taliban in 2001. President Obama, sees the Afghan conflict far more pressing concern than the unpopular war in Iraq. A majority of Americans now see the war in Afghanistan as not worth fighting, More than six in ten Americans oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan, according CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, it also indicates that 56 percent of the public believes that things are going badly for the U.S. in Afghanistan.

Admiral Mike Mullen traveled to Islamabad to repair the strained relationship between United States and Pakistan. Speaking to Pakistani TV, the Admiral directly and publicly accused elements of the Pakistani military, as well as Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, of supporting extremist groups.

Admiral Mullan said, "The ISI has a long-standing relationship with the Haqqani network, that doesn't mean everybody in the ISI, but it's there. I also have an understanding that the ISI and Pakistani military exist to protect their own citizens." The Haqqani is one of the most deadly obstacles to US and NATO operations in Afghanistan, it is accused of  launching attacks on foreign troops from its Waziristan bases.

It is no secret that Pakistan needs billions of U.S. dollars in aid because it's economy is in dire strait, but U.S. in returns expects a strong and reliable ally. Over the past 10 years U.S. has become increasingly frustrated at Pakistan's ineptness at tacking Taliban forces in the region.

U.S. is facing a very difficult challenge, on one hand the support for the war is dwindling at home and on the other side Talibans and Al-Qaida are still strongly operating in the region.
 Maybe President Obama is thinking of cutting the middle man out and having direct talks with the moderate elements of Talibans, but there is no evidence that any such group exists. It seems talibans and Al-Qaida are bidding their time until U.S. withdraw it's troops and they are back in the business of hanging people in the soccer field.

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