Should the Afghan govt talk to the Taliban?

Should the Afghan govt talk to the Taliban?

In London, Afghan President Hamid Karzai argued that the best way to end the war in his country was by reaching out to the Taliban leadership. He also announced that he would invite Taliban leaders to an upcoming peace jirga (tribal conference). This initiative is a significant development in Karzai’s plan for stabilising Afghanistan, which he set in motion about a year ago.

‘Talks about talks’ between the Afghan government and the Taliban leadership have already begun, according to a UN official, who revealed on Thursday that the UN representative to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, met “active” members of the Taliban insurgency in Dubai this month. The meeting was not a negotiation, rather, it was an initial discussion on the possibility of beginning peace talks with the Afghan government.

The Afghan government’s desire to engage with the Taliban leadership is bound to cause diplomatic friction between Kabul and Washington. The US also supports talks with militants, but has called for a strategy that involves luring back low- and mid-level Taliban fighters, as opposed to the top leadership, which is accused of sheltering Osama bin Laden and working closely with Al Qaeda.

Do you think the Afghan government should enter peace talks with the Taliban? Should Kabul engage the Taliban leadership, or only win back the loyalty of militant ‘foot soldiers’? Do you think militants will be open to joining the Afghan government and furthering the democratic process? Can Kabul afford to anger Washington?

The following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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98 Responses to “Should the Afghan govt talk to the Taliban?”

  1. Shaikh Mohommad says:

    The only way out of this mess is through negotiations. Words like Taliban and treatment of women and interpretation of Shariah will not help. We witness in UK, when IRA struggle was on, bomb explosions in London and elsewhere. British Government rightly negotiated peace agreement and today Northern Ireland is peaceful. Military checkposts in N Ireland were removed and system of local government in N Ireland was changed. Sadly Pakistan Military is on war path and thinks that force is the only tool to solve the problem. Pakistanis should demand that Pakistan Military return to the barracks and end its political control. Also it should cease its economic activity and dispose of its banks and factories. Will the politician end the Pakistan Army’s stranglehold over the country?

  2. y. k Pathan says:

    Peace has never been achieved without face to face talks between the players having stakes in the conflict. The same principle apply to Afghanistan. But talks can only bear fruit when the parties believe in the fairness and not the “my way or highway” approach. Taliban pre-condition that Nato and American Forces leave Afghanistan only then they will talk is totally un-acceptable and un-reasonable for the following reasons:

    1. American Forces came to Afghanistan not on adventure but their country was attacked and thousands of innocent men and women were murdered, their Capital was attacked.

    2. There will be chaos like Iraq if Nato and US forces leave. The Afghan Army and Civil Administration is not yet ready to take over the country without the Military, and economic assistance of US and Nato forces.

    3. Taliban can kill their own country fellows but can not force Nato and US forces and dictate their own terms

    4. The current President Hamid Karzai is also an obstacle in the way of peace. Though he is Pushtoon but seen as American agent by the Taliban and also many Afghans.

    Further there are regional players in this game. Iran, Pakistan, India have their own agendas. Unless these regional players do not set together with US and Nato, and reach to a conclusion, talks with Taliban will be just talks.

  3. Babar Ali says:

    Karzai should not only talk to Taliban but should also work closely with them for the establishment of an Islamic state. Before that happens, US and NATO forces must leave Afghanistan. This is the destiny of Afghanistan and perhaps Pakistan to implement ‘Deen-e-Haq’ weather liked by its opponents or not.

  4. Yebow says:

    Yes, Afghanistan Prime Minister Kazai should talk to Maulana Omar or Talibans for peace Process.

  5. Park Y K says:

    No peace will be prevailed if Karzai accept to negotiate with Taliban’s side.

  6. ModeratorNazi says:

    Unlike the efforts by Pakistan to speak to Pakistan Taliban, the Afghan Taliban has their foot soldiers that have joined due to lack of jobs and poverty, while they don’t particularly have allegiance to the Taliban’s cause. So yes, he should try it. The Pakistan Taliban alternatively is more ideologically agreement w/ the Taliban.

  7. Mustafa says:

    It is a well known fact that Taliban will not live up to any agreements. Mr. Karzai should not make the blunder of any negotiations with Talibans. If he does, do not expect any help from international community if the deals with Talibans does not work.

  8. SQ Khan says:

    I personally want US to lose this war. It’s not because I support Taliban but for the US to realize that no war can be won with weapons and revenge killing and massacre is not a solution for any problem.

  9. Ammar says:

    It’s very good decision by Afghan government to talk with Taliban leadership. It will benefit whole world to combat with terrorism.

  10. Inam Ulhaq says:

    The Afghan Government after the withdrawal of US can not absorb the pressure of Taliban. They will have to negotiate with Taliban and try to win over moderate and not so much extremist Taliban to form a stable government.

  11. Bob says:

    Actually all countries of the world who feel they are more powerful than others should learn from the American experience with taliban, and make negotiation, give and take, as the way to resolve long standing issues like Kashmir, because no matter how powerful one, no matter how many people one is is able to annihilate, it boils down to negotiation, in the end, it boils down to give & take at the end of the day, because one is not able to carry on very long with arrogant policies due to practical reasons like economy, employment, & the factor of change. Things don’t stay the same.

  12. Josef says:

    It is impossible to deal with the taliban. They will say anything to further their own ends. They have proven this over and over with their dealing with the Pakistan government. Who in their right mind would want to be ruled by 7th century barbarians, but this is what will happen when the US pulls out of Afghanistan.

  13. HABIB, ABAHA says:

    Taliban want US to leave Afghanistan. How far is US willing to go? That is the question. How about all the folks around the world who have lost their sons and daughters to this war. What is Mr. Obama going to tell them.

    What about Pakistan? The corrupt and weak government of Pakistan will not be able to fight the Taliban’s alone. I would say that negotiating with the taliban is akin to committing suicide especially when we appear to be making headways.

    If Karzai does not or cannot fight the terrorism may be we need to find his replacement.

  14. Fazal says:

    Is there any political mainstream in Afghanistan which the taliban may get into after successful talks

    Remember Najibullah “Be careful MR Karzai”. US will leave what options do you have.

  15. Bob says:

    Also, democracy is compatible with Islamic system of shura (consensus), supremacy of divine law, Islamic justice, however, there is no room for compulsion in Islam, it has to go through the consensus of the delegates in the congress. Constitution should uphold the Quran & Sunnah. Democracy means consensus & consensus can move upward recursively, with bottom up approach, starting from the small segments of communities.

  16. Bob says:

    At the end of the day, Afghans will be left with talibans. They should learn to deal with them right now. I think let them run in the elections, become part of the governing bodies like legislature, judiciary & executive, because it is in there long term interest. West will not be able to stay for very long in that region, because they need to balance their budgets, and they have learned that no matter what, fighting talibans is only making it worse, increasing the risk for them, making westerners & western interest more vulnerable. I think negotiating with taliban is the only long term solution to the crises.

  17. Aysha Khan says:

    @khan malook betanni

    My question to you is, do you agree with Taliban’s draconic interpretation of Islam? You are showing sympathy for Taliban that they want to implement Sharia Law. Talibans have destroyed most of the girls schools in Waziristan. Does sharia law forbids education for woman or its just Talibanic interpretation???

  18. A.Bajwa says:

    Negotiating with Taliban is no doubt desirable.

    Whether Karzai can and should do it on his own is doubtful as it is based on false presumption: there are two parties to this war.

    Unless all parties are involved these talks would not even take off.

    As in 1919 Peace Conference even political parties should be involved so that a durable peace can be negotiated.

  19. Ashok Bhasin says:

    I do not think the London conference will bring stability to Afghanistan. For stability to Afghanistan, it is necessary that all countries in the region should keep their hands off. Let the poor Pushtoon decide their fate. These illiterate and hapless people have been used both by USA and Pakistan against Russia. Interference from neighbouring countries will again start once ISAF & US forces are withdrawn and the situation will again be to square one. Afghans should also firmly stop any outside interference on the name of religion. Only then peace will come to Afghanistan.

  20. maizu wazir says:

    I think this peace process is like victory for the taliban. America has come to conclusion that they cant control Afghanistan without the peace negotiation with the Taliban leadership. They have completely lost the war and just want to make some sort of resort to leave Afghanistan. The present American economy doesn’t allow the American government to continue the afghan war. This peace talks is the victory of Taliban’s.

  21. Subrata Datta says:

    I find several women have expressed serious concerns about the Taliban being a part of the future govt. in Afghanistan. What assurance does anybody have that they will not revert to their old agenda – summary and arbitrary executions, confining women indoors without any education and such other laws? Besides the Taliban are Pashtuns. What about Afghans who are not Pashtuns, what about them. Where will they fit in the scheme of things. Should they not be heard. What about the Talibans’ equation with the Al Quida. The invasion of Afghanistan back in 2001 was because the Taliban refused to hand over Bin Laden to the Americans. Will Bin Laden and Al Qaida continue with terror in post war Afghanistan. Finally what about Pakistan. Where will they fit in. Then what about the Taliban in Pakistan. What will their role be in Pakistan or for that matter in Afghanistan.

    There are so many imponderables that it is simply impossible to see where such talks will lead to. Is it a gimmick by Karzai to stay in power knowing he has been one of the reasons why the Taliban has not been routed?

  22. Fawad latif says:

    It is said “he who sit on a tiger can never get off”. Talk with taliban fine! but would it succeed in another thing.

  23. Yogesh Agarwal says:

    Talking is always better than fighting. But it is feasible only if Taliban demonstrates sincerity about participating in a democratic framework. But if there is no change in their stand on issues like women’s education, draconic provisions of Sharia laws, treatment of minorities etc., the talks will lead nowhere.

  24. Zain Nabi says:

    The confusion with starting these peace talks has already been aroused. One can easily sense different approaches adopted by Karzai and US administration in initiating dialogue process with Taliban. US wants Taliban at lower level to be a part of the peace process whereas Karzai wants to engage top Taliban commanders. The US may not support (fund) Afghanistan if Karzai does not change his stance.

    The other thing which not many people have observed is the question that Pakistani Administration will be the part of this dialogue process or not? We have been the front line actor in War on Terror so our official presence (not the establishment) shall be ensured. Because there is a possibility that if Taliban enters into the political system of Afghanistan (in case of any successful negotiations) they may start supporting the Talibans in Pakistan, which in return, after the involvement of foreign actors, may force Pakistan to involve the Taliban in its political system. So Pakistani administration should think of this matter seriously and should be the part of this negotiation process.

  25. SQ Khan says:

    This is an endless game in sight for the US. US and its ally Pakistan doesn’t share common goals in this war. There is no strategy and clarity on long term effect of this war. Just by killing the leaders the insurgency is not going to end. Revenge killing will turn even the common inspired people into potential suicide bombers and Pakistan is going to bear the brunt of it. Taliban cannot be eliminated by war. The more the west stay here the more they are going to loose. It was not a war started by Taliban it was imposed on them. America just want revenge killing and they do so is the taliban. I suppose the US must leave this place at the earliest with dialogue or not to bring back the normalcy. Taliban is not “terrorists” to this region as the west call that. The real terror is the western presence here which fuel all the revenge killing here. Talk or no talk. We all have to work together to see the western forces leave this place the soonest possible time on Facebook on Facebook