Germany Ups Afghan Force, Debates Talking to Taliban

Negotiation with radicals seems necessary, but Karzai's not the man for the job
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2008 3:24 PM CDT
ISAF soldier with the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) salute during ceremonies commemorating German reunification at the German camp in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, Oct. 3, 2008.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Germany’s government decided today to send 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan and to keep its forces there for 14 more months, Der Spiegel reports. But as Angela Merkel’s government recommits to the fight, the German press argues over whether a radical change in strategy—including diplomatic engagement with the Taliban—is necessary.

While recognizing the enemy of 7 years may seem like “a pact with the devil,” writes Die Tageszeitung, “nothing should be left untried” that could ease civilian suffering. And while the Taliban’s ultimate goal of instituting a religiously repressive government cannot be tolerated, “it is also true that 'the' Taliban is actually an extremely heterogeneous group with varying degrees of radicalism”—and negotiating with more moderate factions could isolate the more radical groups, Die Welt argues.