Friday, October 15, 2010

Negotiating With The Enemy

When the Taliban, after a civil war following the departure of Russian troops from Afghanistan, held power in the country, they represented Islam and Sharia as brutal, repressive, and starkly punishment-oriented. Women and girls were considered chattel, and had no rights. Music, dance and art were strictly forbidden, as was anything that hinted at a Western origin.

The Taliban nurtured and protected the growing influence of al-Qaeda, as a destructive force.

When the Northern Alliance, allied with NATO and U.S. troops, fought the Taliban and sought al-Qaeda after 9-11, the country was truly liberated from the dread constraints and hardships imposed upon the people by the Taliban. The Taliban and al-Qaeda indulged in summary executions when they suspected that Afghans were conspiring against them, with the foreign 'occupiers'. They do so to this day.

A hugely resurgent Taliban, aided, armed and abetted by Pakistan's ISI, its armed forces, and covertly by Pakistan's government, managed, in recent years, to control a greater proportion of Afghanistan's provinces than it had when it was in power, before it was rousted by NATO/U.S./UN.

The Taliban terrorizes Afghan villagers, and entices young unemployed Afghans to fight with them, teaching them how to construct IEDs, successful in killing countless foreign soldiers and Afghan villagers.

The horrendously pernicious administration of the Taliban that made an utter mockery of human rights may be set to return to Afghanistan. For the current government of Afghanistan, under Hamid Karzai - groomed and installed by the Americans - has set about making 'reconciliation' overtures to their enemies.

NATO and the United States have become complicit in these overtures, for they have an ardent wish to withdraw from the seemingly never-ending hostilities.

How do you 'reconcile' with religious extremists who terrorized and victimized and murdered countless Afghan civilians whom any government has a duty to protect? You arbitrarily seek to find a common path, one supposes, that will permit each side to grudgingly but of necessity, accept the values and priorities of the other, impossible as it seems, under the circumstances.

In so doing, there will be victims, and those victims will be the very same women and girls whose human rights were previously violated.

As for the Taliban and potential bargaining for peace, they insist that no talks can be possible unless and until foreign troops absent themselves from the country. They will, at a future date, demand that foreign aid workers and human rights activists be shut out of the country. There are reliable rumours that Hamid Karzai will have to offer important government posts to the Taliban, should they assent in laying down their arms and joining the government.

Which leads one to ask, reasonably, why did the West spend so much capital over so many years, for the purpose of restoring Afghanistan to civilization. The more important question is how does the sacrifice of too many young foreign armed services personnel who were returned to their countries in body bags, reconcile with the above?

And the unfortunate response to the situation is that the Taliban need not waste its time negotiating with anyone. It is simply required to sit and wait...

Yet at a NATO conference in Brussels senior American officials admitted involvement in initiating a 'peace process', for their date of departure has been announced well in advance, and the Taliban need only wait patiently for another year, and they will be enabled by their fierce determination, guerrilla tactics, and firepower assistance from Pakistan, to take up where they left off.

"We just - you know, we need to be open to opportunities that arise", explained U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. As for President Hamid Karzai, he and his advisers have gone from threatening to negotiate with the Taliban in his various fits of pique with NATO having complained about his administration's corruption, to open admissions of intent to bargain with the Taliban, purchasing loyalty with U.S. funding.

President Karzai would dearly love to ensure his administration with himself at the helm, somehow endures. Hoping that in a spirit of good-fellowhood and acceptance, the Taliban will suddenly become reasonable and sensitive to the needs of the people. The fate of the population, once more under rigid Sharia, at the hands of the Taliban, is another story altogether.

Labels: , , , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet