Sunday, January 17, 2010

Why Are We Here Again? (part 6,2334)

Today's NYT has a story on how the Afghan leadership is trying to integrate the Taliban in the government:
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government will soon unveil a major new plan offering jobs, security, education and other social benefits to Taliban followers who defect, according to the spokesman for President Hamid Karzai.
Ok. So these Taliban aren't evil? What exactly are we doing there trying to kill all of them? 
Even if such a plan wins international support, serious questions remain about Afghanistan’s ability to carry it out, especially without a functioning national government, a prospect that remained distant on Sunday.
So you have a non-functioning government (supported by the US) which is now trying to populate itself with Taliban members (who the US is trying to kill.) Makes perfect sense. Maybe they think that the Taliban are extremely evil and should be shot on sight, but that can all be forgotten if they'll just promise to support the corrupt Karzai administration. 
Richard Holbrooke, the American special envoy to Afghanistan, said he had discussed the plan with Mr. Karzai and said it was better than previous efforts, adding, “Can’t be worse.
Finally, someone from the US government admits the obvious.
Chief among the new measures, Mr. Omer said, were strong security guarantees to defecting Taliban that they would be protected from arrest or retaliation. He did not detail what those measures would be, but many defecting Taliban in the past have asked to be integrated into local police forces.
So, in an exchange for a promise that they will be good boys and laying down their guns, the evil Taliban will be given more guns and put in positions of power. Genius.

But maybe the idea is that these guys are just foot soldiers, and it's the Taliban leaders who are evil.
Mr. Omer also indirectly confirmed that the Afghan government might ask that (Taliban leader) Mullah Omar be removed from the United Nation’s terrorist blacklist, which freezes the bank accounts of those listed and bans them from international travel.
Maybe not.
(Top adviser to President Karzai, Mohammed Masoom) Stanekzai did not rule out the possibility of talking with Mr. Omar. “What we need is a top-down and bottom-up approach,” he said. 
We also need to think outside the box, he continued, because the current state of play is such that we're really pushing the envelope. We have to partner with these people, even if we need to outsource the source of our citizenry. It really could be a game changer.

Meaningless drivel. These guys are all probably standing around laughing at at the clueless Americans, who die fighting Taliban one day, and then nod sagely while their Afghan partners hand them guns the next.

The NATO force’s s top spokesman, Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, did not lay out the details of a separate plan but said Saturday that “We are working closely with the government of Afghanistan as they develop their program.”
“We see this as one of the means to resolve the ongoing insurgency,” he added.
Here's what I think is happening. I think the US is realizing how stupid, impossible, and pointless a war against the Taliban is. But these generals can't admit how badly the've fucked up, and just need to find some way to declare victory.

If we just leave, we lose. So instead, they reason, if we can just get these Taliban to promise us they'll be good, we can just give them the government and claim victory. Who will ever know? It's not like the wingnuts who will accept nothing less than unconditional Taliban surrender even know where Afghanistan is, right?

Great idea. What does the Taliban think of it? The must be scared of all these new US troops and ready to make a deal, right?

A spokesman for the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, ruled out any possibility of negotiations with Mr. Karzai’s government. “We are united and we will remain united against them,” Mr. Ahmadi said in a telephone interview. “There is no differentiation between Taliban moderates and extremists. We are fighting under one name, Taliban, under one leadership.”
What the fuck are we doing there again?

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