CNN’s Michael Ware goes into Taliban territory in Pakistan to report on the progress of the war in the Af-Pak theater. Ware gets two scoops from the Pakistani military. First, they admit that they maintain at least some intelligence contact with Taliban leadership, and the Pakistanis reveal that they have offered to broker cease-fire talks between the US and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and even a bigger scoop at the very end:
The effort in Afghanistan is much more complicated than what we faced in Iraq. People talked about Iraq being a civil war, but Afghanistan is the real thing — and it’s also a tribal war, which makes the problem even more complicated. At the end of the day, the Pashtuns will have to learn to live with everyone else without attempting to dominate them through force of arms and theocracies, or someone will have to carve out a Pashtunistan to leave them by themselves. Eventually, some settlement has to be made that will end the fighting. That means we will have to talk with someone.
However, Mullah Omar is hardly a man to be trusted with compromise. He has given no indication that he wants one anyway, and his past actions speak loudly towards his trustworthiness. Omar is a tyrant who cannot be allowed back into power just to set up Afghanistan once again as a terrorist base of operations.
And Obama cannot seriously consider tossing India aside in order to get into talks with Omar. Even acting symbolically to shift towards Pakistan in their dispute will undo the careful diplomacy and partnership conducted during the Bush administration to bring India closer to the West. Talks with Omar aren’t worth a plugged nickel, and certainly not worth abandoning India for Pakistan, especially while India continues to get victimized by terrorist attacks originating out of Pakistani territory.