Taliban Peace Talks Dominate Afghan Race
By Jason Farago, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2009 6:53 AM CDT
An Army carry team walks away from a transfer case containing the remains of Army Cpl. Nicholas R. Roush on Monday, Aug. 17, 2009 at Dover Air Force Base, Del.   (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

(Newser) – As Afghans prepare to vote on Thursday, the top issue for all the leading presidential candidates remains whether and how to negotiate with the Taliban. Hamid Karzai, still predicted to win, has made vocal calls for negotiations but has done little so far in office, and Taliban insurgents are imperiling the election. His top challengers both want a more grass-roots approach to peacemaking. Abdullah Abdullah, Karzai's main rival, told the New York Times, "If you lose the people, you lose the war."

Foreign government and international organizations also remain divided on how much to engage the Taliban. The UN's mission wants to see a wide-ranging peace process immediately, while the US and NATO want further military action to weaken the Taliban before any negotiation takes place. "It’s not going to happen until the insurgency is weaker and the government is stronger," said one Western diplomat in Kabul.

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Aug 18, 2009 5:08 AM CDT
Sure, that would work, too, as long as you're okay with a return to the anarchy that made it such a swell place for Al Qaeda to plan and execute the 9/11 attacks.
Aug 18, 2009 3:26 AM CDT
Or we could give them no money and tell them to fuck off and leave us alone if we promise to do the same.
Aug 18, 2009 2:14 AM CDT
There is no pint in negotiating with the Taliban. They are only as strong as the men who fight for them, the vast majority of whom do so for pay. If the Taliban's "leaders" negotiate a settlement, these men will go to work for someone else -- drug lords or road bandits, most likely. There is no chance of peace in Afghanistan until we find a way to address the 200,000 to 400,000 men with no skill except warfare. Can we kill them all? No. Will they just decide to put down their weapons and starve? No way. Will they join the Afghan National Army? Don't make me laugh. Can we rent or buy them? Probably, if we do it right. And if we pay them to keep the peace while learning other ways to make a living, it will cost us less in money and MUCH LESS in American lives than our current misguided strategy.