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.


Comments Guide: encourages its readers to share their views on our forums. We try to accommodate all users' comments but this is not always possible due to space and other constraints. Please our read our comments guidelines below for more information:

1. Please be aware that the views of our bloggers and commenters do not necessarily reflect's policies.

2. Though comments appear to have been published immediately after posting, they are actually forwarded to a moderation queue before publication.

3. Dawn reserves the right to remove or edit comments that are posted on this blog.

4. Language that is offensive to any race, religion, ethnicity, gender or nationality is not permitted.

5. Avoid posting comments in ALL CAPS. Commenters are also encouraged to avoid text contractions like 'u r.'

6. Do not cross-post comments across multiple blog entries.

7. Any comments posted to a blog entry should be relevant to the topic or discussion.

8. Do not spam the comment section.

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

  1. One Arizonan says:

    For lasting peace, Karzai should talk to anybody that would result in ending terror and stop needless killing. Also Karzai should keep in mind that all human beings should be treated equal, and, any faction that would damage that value and result in suppression of freedom for women, minorities should be handled with caution.

  2. Noreen says:

    Sure Everyone want to stable the region by going through dialogue but as a Pakistani my insecurities prevailing if administration will go in the hands of Taliban what would be the fate of Pakistan as our North west areas being facilitated by same Taliban leadership for war torn region what is the future of Pakistan? will Pakistan face two enemies in the region????

  3. vettcrazz says:

    All I can say is its getting really scary over their and America is stuck their, we should do anything we can do to stabilize Afghanistan. And help those people. Although. Like in Iraq sharia law is just ruining these people life’s its an ideology that should not exist nowhere in the world. It strips freedom away from people. Why we wanted to I am sure ultimately want to help Iraq and Afghanistan, All I think we have done is hurt them by letting sharia law be imposed and mixed in politics. I think we wasted 15 years in Iraq because we let them put the sharia law back in the government when it should be taken out of the constitution altogether. I think the same thing is going to happen in Afghanistan if someone doesn’t push for that law to be removed from their constitutions. What a waste of time and American life’s just to end up back where we started in the 1st place.

  4. khan malook betanni says:

    Taliban are the most peaceful people of the world. Their only mistake is the implementation of Islamic law completely. But this desire of Taliban is a thorn in eyes of non-Muslims. Negotiation with Taliban will have no positive result because Taliban will implement Islamic law again in the country which is not acceptable to Americans and other non-Muslims. The only solution of the problem is that non-Muslim countries should avoid their own extremism and allow Taliban for the implementation of Islamic law. For complete removal of terrorism from the world, terrorism should be clearly defined.

  5. Mumtaz Mian says:

    I don’t believe it is an option. I believe this is the only way forward. I don’t view Talibans as an organisation or a group of people. I think it is an ideology and a movement for justice and freedom as the citizens of the developed nations enjoy instead of oppression imposed by corrupt local politicians in Afghanistan.

  6. Good luck says:

    Dialogue is always the rational approach and should have happened long time ago before all this got spun out of control. So much bloodshed and killing from both sides was lunacy. In this war nobody won but the war and bloodshed alone. If one side was not mature, then it was the responsibility of the mature side to act responsibly and hold dialogue at an early stage, so it could be nipped in the bud. Dialogue at this stage may be worth trying, but nothing can be guaranteed. Trust building will need tremendous effort and that will be the key. So, good luck to all parties wanting peace.

  7. Adil says:

    The Taliban leaders are religious fanatics who will never agree that women should be educated. They insist on an extreme form of Sharia law. They seek to create an Afghanistan and Pakistan which is like a caliphate from the twelfth century. They are widely despised. They will never win.

    They need to be driven into submission and relegated to the history books as an evil regime alongside the Nazis.

  8. Johnny says:

    Of course Talibans need to be talked to but there are so many of them and how does the US and Karzai work it out. And then what will be the agenda? If it means their interpretation of Shariat and Islam then I am afraid we got a big problem. Talks are only going to embolden them and will be considered a defeat for the US.

  9. RWD says:

    No, Karzai shouldn’t negotiate with Taliban. Someone have to teach these Talibans that civil society is made up of all people of a country but only if they behave civil way and participate in democratic process and live by the rules and laws of the country, period.

  10. S.A.Khan says:

    At some point, Afghan government will have to talk to Taliban’s to stop destruction of Afghanistan by the Afghans themselves. However Taliban’s and Afghans have mind set different from others nations. Talk with Taliban’s will only materialize if foreign forces will leave Afghanistan, They regards all foreigners as out siders and a threat to their way of life, particularly Europeans.
    2. Afghanistan is a tribal country. It has no national bondage. As such one will have to deal with a number of war lords. They are over zealous of their religion and it will be helpful if Muslims countries will help them in national bonding and liberal approach to religion. They are left to live their lives, the way they wish safeguarding the rights of women and other minorities. From Alexander the Great to this day, attempts to discipline the people have not succeeded. It is not fair that our young soldiers are killed in attempt to bond them nationally.

  11. I am in favour of talking to Taliban because they are natives not outsiders. They are being treated like red indians who were killed because they were against modern life style. This is not the right approach. We have to save life of innocent Afghanis being killed in crossfire.

  12. Zeesh says:

    Taliban are too backward to have any role in a modern state.
    Instead of buying off the militants there should be a serious effort from all the neighbours at institution and economy building. Once there are good jobs available, the militants that are there for the bucks will melt away.

  13. nadeem says:

    well said by
    Asif says: January 30th, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    many powers came and gone, none could have changed. History repeated once again itself for the 21st century.

  14. Foha says:

    I believe it is useless to talk to talibans. It does not matter if Washington gets angry or not. It is ethically and morally wrong. Talibans are just savages who do not deserve to be talked with. When Pakistan tired talking it was useless and Afghanistan should not repeat the same mistake.

  15. RKG says:

    It is very interesting to see a lot of comments but reader, it would be more interesting to see after coming back in power, what will Taleban do with pakistan? will thay provide strategic depth or…..????

  16. A PAKISTANI says:

    Talking to willing Taliban is in everyone’s interest i.e. America, NATO, Pakistan, Indian, Afghanistan, and Iran. No one can dream of a stability in Afghanistan until Pashtuns are integrated into any political dispensation in Afghanistan, and Taliban represent this Pashtun majority. So it is a sensible decision.

  17. faiz Khalil says:

    The London conference on January 28th where more than 60 countries participated is giving the impression to the world that finally we are waking up to reality and thinking reasonably now how to end the war and not how to win the war in Afghanistan. To end the war, President Karzai wants to talk to all Taliban while the west wants to divide Taliban by buying off some of them. Both these efforts will fail. And after couple of years there will be another Paris conference to see how to end this war. In the meantime people from both sides will continue killings. Why these war ending efforts will fail? Because they are not based on honest and sincere attitude. To end this war in acceptable terms to both sides, Taliban and its enemy, The efforts should be a 2-points agenda for talks.

    1. Expel Al-Qaida from Afghanistan.
    2. Withdraw all foreign troops.

    Will peace return to Afghanistan after doing this? Not at all because the constitution was made without the participation of Taliban. So make the constitution acceptable for all parties like Pakistan. Will peace then return? Not at all. All the warring factions still there with there own militia and territorial control. What should be done. Either crush all the war lords or make them agree to collective peace. The collective peace effort is what will finally bring life to Afghanistan with help from the world.

  18. Fahmida Abdul Sattar says:

    Whether Afghan govt. starts negotiation with taliban or not but Pakistani govt. should certainly resort to talk with Taliban as we can’t afford any disturbance and clash with our neighboring country any more. Taliban are winning in Afghanistan and they are likely to take over the power in years to come. Other thing is that Pakistani media should stop propaganda against Taliban as after they again come in Power by and large we have to live with them peacefully and at that time what justification will we give to our people to have normal ties with neighboring Afghanistan after distorting their image and reputation. Washington definitely wants talk with Taliban but it wants that only US and NATO should normalize its relations with Taliban and Pakistan and Afghanistan should continue to play its proxy role vis-à-vis Taliban and constant unrest in the region.

  19. hn says:

    Taliban did not come to power by talking to anybody. They surrounded Kabul and fired rockets at the city until the existing government fell.

    What do you talk to them? About the weather?

  20. Ihsanullah says:

    This is a good beginning but I am worrying that the international community would not back this initiative honestly.

    It is said that the US itself is fueling insurgency in order to use it as a pretext for the international community while in fact, they are lingering there invasion and military basement in the region.

    I doubt that the Afghan government and international community would welcome the conditions of the Taliban if put forward to them.

  21. Hope says:

    The President Karzai should work for the best interest of Afghani people. I believe that the cooperation of Afghan government with decent Talibans may bring peace in the country. The Taliban should be engaged in all kind of activities including getting higher education and better skills, should be engaged in business and policies for growth and productivity. The country needs political stability and growth.

  22. amar says:

    Dialogue is the best way to sort out the differences.

  23. raki says:

    Yes, if they honor the Afghan constitution, lay down the arms, shun violence and support for the terrorists.

  24. kashif Raees says:

    I think afghan people should be combined for durable peace in Afghanistan. Taliban are also a part of afghan nation, without engaging them into any peace process or any endeavor towards stabilization of Afghanistan would be worthless, that is why it is essential for peace in Afghanistan and as well as in region to invite Taliban in the peace process, but it must be kept in mind that Taliban will be agreed on any compromise, incentives, packages or jobs except the withdrawal of NATO forces, now it is prerequisites for constant peace in the region to announce the withdrawal date by US and NATO from Afghanistan.

  25. ashok says:

    First West and the United States must decide if Karzai is the right choice to head the government.

    Mr. Karzai is the most unpopular president in the recent times in Afghanistan and him and Taliban together will be a very deadly cocktail for Afghanistan as a country. The world don’t want to see the control of afghan government go in the hands of lawless Talibani mob again. on Facebook on Facebook