“U.S. Officials Hold Direct Peace Talks with the Taliban…..U.S. diplomats have held direct peace talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the ongoing 17-year U.S. war in Afghanistan. The New York Times reports the Trump administration is urging U.S.-backed Afghan troops to retreat from rural areas and focus on protecting Kabul and other major cities. The Times also reports this strategy will likely ensure the Taliban remains in control of vast stretches of the countryside, where the majority of Afghans live……”
“To the U.S., the Afghan Taliban is largely an insurgency with control over vast swaths of territory and aspirations to govern the country, while its Pakistani offspring is considered nothing but a terrorist organization. But the real reason the Afghan Taliban is not on the list has more to do with political considerations than whether or not it meets the statutory criteria for a terrorist designation……..”
Interesting. The Taliban were the worst terror organization/group in the Muslim World for years. Until ISIS, an offshoot of their Al Qaeda allies and partners, showed up. They have been responsible for, or cooperated in, killing thousands of Americans (along with their Wahhabi-Salafist allies). More than any other terrorist group ever. They cooperated in direct attacks on the American homeland during 9/11, something nobody else has done, none of the alleged threats like Hezbollah or Hamas or even Gaddi’s Libya or Saddam Hussein. Their Pakistani Taliban branch was designated as a terrorist group, but not the Afghan headquarters which tormented Afghanistan, aided and sheltered Al Qaeda before and during the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The Afghan mother branch is now treated almost like the neighborhood sweet girl-next-door branch.
I believe the Taliban were never listed as a terrorist organization/group for two other deeper reasons. You see:
- They are an offshoot of the Islamist Mujahideen of Afghanistan, created by Saudi money and American weapons in the 1980s to harass the Soviet/Russian forces supporting the secular leftist government in that country. After the Soviets and the secular regime departed, the Mujahideen, including the Taliban, proceeded to destroy Afghanistan. It is effectively a Saudi-Salafi-Western baby, a hometown chicken that came home to roost across the wider Middle East and North Africa and beyond.
- The Taliban are not Middle Eastern, they are not involved in Middle East politics, so no Petro-Arab/AIPAC lobbyists are after them in the United States, spending money and applying political pressure, buying politicians, pundits, and prominent think-tanks. Unlike other more official organizations in, say Iran or Lebanon or Yemen or Gaza, etc. Who are not so generous, or so accommodating. For example…..
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
President Trump was quoted after his Afghanistan speech as stressing that “in the end, we will win in Afghanistan“.
He is going for a victory in a region where no foreign power achieved lasting victory in some 200 years. He is imitating the famous George W. Bush claim of “Mission Accomplished (in Iraq)’. Only Trump is doing it backwards: he is already predicting that he will accomplish the mission, whatever the mission is. Most likely the best mission at this stage is to get out.
Mr. Trump left the details of his Afghan plan vague, meaning there is no real Afghan plan. He is trying to bluff the Taliban, just as he tried to bluff the North Korean regime and Iran and failed. War is not a real estate deal in Manhattan, war doesn’t lend itself to bluffing.
The real Trump plan is most likely based on a desire to avoid being called “the loser of Afghanistan” before the 2020 elections. So he will dabble in the Afghan war for a couple of years, bide his time, shoring up the hopelessly corrupt regime in Kabul. just as Nixon shored up a corrupt regime in Saigon for a few years and ended up losing all of Indo-China.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“Last week, President Donald Trump’s senior Cabinet officials and top national security advisers met for a contentious meeting to finally agree on a new strategy for America’s longest war. After months of wrangling, they would ask Trump for a modest troop increase and a more intense commitment to the seemingly endless struggle in Afghanistan. But the session of the National Security Council Principals Committee, described by two sources briefed on it as a “s*** show” that featured what a third source, a senior White House official, confirmed was a heated debate where “words were exchanged,” proved no more successful than months’ worth of previous Afghan policy debates…….”
If you can’t win a foreign war in a faraway land against an under-armed unsophisticated enemy for 14 years, what does that mean?
It means either you had no original goal to start with, OR that you overlooked your original goal of that war, WTF it was. That it is time to pull out of an unwinnable war.
The Greeks spent less time than that trying to defeat the Trojans, and they gave up, except for one last Hail Mary, one last Parthian (or Persian) Shot. That Hail Mary with the wooden horse (it came long before Mary) worked! It almost certainly worked because the Trojans were stupid! Snatching defeat out of a wooden horse’s ass at your moment of victory is a certain sign of stupidity.
So, unless Trump and his advisers have an equivalent to that ancient Greek Hail Mary, and given that Al Qaeda are out of Afghanistan, it is time to get out.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
Woke up early, too early today on this very cold first morning of 2015. Watched the Rose Parade in Pasadena (on TV from the Northwest of course). Getting ready to watch the Ducks beat the WTF they’re called in Florida State (maybe the Seminoles that they killed off?). One nice float had a Sikh motif, with a bunch of Sikh people on it. Sikhs of India, and maybe elsewhere, wear turbans, sort of like some of us Muslims. Sort of like the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
I switched quickly to Fox News, expecting one of their Five, or is it Six, geniuses complain about the Taliban or other Muslim terrorists taking over the Rose Parade.
It has a ring to it if you are a regular watcher, occasionally with tragic results…………
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“The Pakistani Taliban have set up camps and sent hundreds of men to Syria to fight alongside rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, militants said on Sunday, in a strategy aimed at cementing ties with al Qaeda’s central leadership. More than two years since the start of the anti-Assad rebellion, Syria has become a magnet for foreign Sunni fighters who have flocked to the Middle Eastern nation to join what they see as a holy war against Shi’ite oppressors. Operating alongside militant groups such as the al Nusra Front, described by the United States as a branch of al Qaeda, they mainly come from nearby countries such as Libya and Tunisia riven by similar conflict as a result of the Arab Spring……………….”
It was a natural step, given the variety of Arab, Chechen, Bosnian, and other cutthroats fighting the regime and each other in Syria. With Al-Qaeda and several of its franchises doing what they consider God’s murder in Syria, it was only a matter of time before the Taliban showed up.
Or maybe it is a trick by the Pakistani Taliban to drag Mr. Obama into the Syrian trap. It is no secret that the Taliban love Mr. Obama about as much as they would love any Shi’a ayatollah (which is slightly less than they approve of a bare-faced woman who can read). Given that the drones are attacking gatherings in Pakistan on a regular basis, it is natural for the Taliban to expect the drones to also enter the fray in Syria. On the other hand, that may fall in nicely with some neoconservatives who have been pushing for the US to bomb someone or something or somewhere in Syria. After all, drone bombing is still a from of bombing. It beats no bombing.