WaPo: Karzai in “high level” talks with Taliban to end Afghanistan war

posted at 9:32 pm on October 6, 2010 by Allahpundit

It’s a testament, I think, to how many people are exasperated with/dispirited by the progress of the war that this potentially huge news has been only lightly blogged around the ‘sphere today. What is there to say anymore, really?

The threshold question: Is Karzai doing this with or without the U.S.’s blessing? American officials are quoted in the piece as endorsing what’s going on, but remember that according to this NYT piece back in June, he’s been negotiating with jihadis for awhile now “outside the purview of American and NATO officials.” This might be a case of him telling Petraeus and Eikenberry “here’s what we’re doing today” and the U.S. being forced to go along for the time being for appearances’ sake.

Or, it might not:

Reports of the talks come amid what Afghan, Arab and European sources said they see as a distinct change of heart by the Obama administration toward full backing of negotiations. Although President Obama and his national security team have long said the war would not be won by military means alone, sources said the administration only recently appeared open to talks rather than resisting them.

“We did not have consensus, and there were some who thought they could do it militarily,” said a second European official. The Europeans said the American shift began in the summer, as combat intensified with smaller-than-expected NATO gains despite the arrival of the full complement of new U.S. troops, amid rising U.S. public opposition to the war.

The United States’ European partners in Afghanistan, with different histories and under far stronger domestic pressure to withdraw their troops, have always been more amenable to a negotiated settlement. “What it really boils down to is the Americans both supporting and in some cases maybe even participating in talking with the enemy,” the first European official said. “If you strip everything away, that’s the deal here. For so long, politically, it’s been a deal breaker in the United States, and with some people it still is.”…

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, told reporters last week that high-level Taliban leaders had “sought to reach out” to the top level of the Karzai government. “This is how you end these kinds of insurgencies,” he said.

According to WaPo, the Taliban envoys to Karzai are authorized to speak for Mullah Omar and the rest of the Taliban leadership council. In which case, riddle me this: Why on earth would the Taliban be looking for a peace deal now, after “smaller-than-expected NATO gains” this summer and knowing that political pressure in the U.S. to end the war is already sufficiently high as to force Obama’s dopey withdrawal start date next July? What could the Taliban possibly hope to gain by negotiating instead of sticking it out? One of WaPo’s sources claims that they know “they are going to be sidelined” in Afghanistan in the future, but nothing I’ve ever read suggests that that’s true. They’re perfectly capable of winning a long civil war against the weak Afghan army if NATO withdrew. The source adds that “They know that more radical elements are being promoted within their rank and file outside their control,” by which I assume he means the Haqqani network (they’re also suspected of having a hand in the current European terror plot). The Haqqanis aren’t part of these negotiations, apparently — in which case, (a) a deal with the Taliban actually isn’t going to solve everything, (b) if the Taliban leadership is worried about “more radical” elements, why should we/they expect that a peace deal negotiated by the leaders would be honored by those radicals, and (c) because the Haqqanis are regarded as an even more reliable proxy for Pakistan than the Taliban, there’s no telling whether Pakistan’s onboard with this deal or ready to resort to who knows what in order to scuttle it. Remember what they did last time a high-level Taliban leader tried to talk peace with Karzai?

The one scenario I can come up with for why there might be something to this round of peace talks is that, after the floods in Pakistan and the new escalation in the border areas between jihadis attacking NATO convoys and the CIA bombarding terrorist hideouts, Pakistani intelligence might be worried about destabilization and therefore willing to see what’s on the table as far as a peace deal goes. But again, in that case, why isn’t the Haqqani network part of the deal? And why would any sane person trust the Taliban or the Haqqanis to keep up their end of the bargain given the jihadi track record when it comes to peace treaties? This is just a fig leaf to justify a more rapid withdrawal, isn’t it?

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Well heck – look at that photo. With Jesus… ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!

greggriffith on October 6, 2010 at 9:34 PM

AS a good will gesture on the part of the Taliban, hand over AQ, then maybe we’ll start to talk.

rbj on October 6, 2010 at 9:35 PM

greggriffith on October 6, 2010 at 9:34 PM

That was what I noticed first, as well–did they plan the halo effect, or is it just destiny with The One?

DrMagnolias on October 6, 2010 at 9:37 PM

with a GOP Congress what pressure on Obama would there be? You don’t think the Taliban and AQ don’t realize the “Hard Line” is on the upswing in the USA. This is their last best chance to get a deal at their terms.

rob verdi on October 6, 2010 at 9:37 PM

Let them take control, them bomb the Hell out of the capital.

SouthernGent on October 6, 2010 at 9:37 PM

I’ve said all along…Obama is going to do to Afghanistan (and Iraq) what he has done to the US economy. I don’t think I have to elaborate on the specifics here. Anybody who thought this boob is capable of anything but screwing up whatever his golf-playing fingers touch is a sub-moronic douche.

AUINSC on October 6, 2010 at 9:38 PM

Reports of the talks come amid what Afghan, Arab and European sources said they see as a distinct change of heart by the Obama administration toward full backing of negotiations.

The Taliban are doing exactly what the Iranians are doing….buying time.

This is why liberals parade the lame line of talking points around about just defeating “al-qaeda”.Obama always talks about beating “al-qaeda”,as if they are our only threat and don’t work hand in hand with the Taliban.

Now Obama seems to be close to “surrendering with style”.

This idea that we can leave the Taliban in power in Afghanistan is nothing more than heading for the exits with political cover.

If we leave Afghanistan with the Taliban in power…still ruling the countryside…..and Pakistan still able to recruit,train,and fund terrorism…..then we have not won.
We will leave Afghanistan more powerful and dangerous than when we entered in 2001.

They are one and the same:

The strong relationship between al-qaeda and the Taliban:

Bin Laden then made a pledge of personal fealty,much like the one that members of al-qaeda swore to him.He acknowledged Omar as the leader of the faithful.
“We consider you to be our noble Emir”.
Bin Laden wrote.
“We invite all muslims to render assistance and co-operation to you,in every possible way that they can.

The Long War Journal: Analysis: Al Qaeda is the tip of the jihadist spear

Written by Thomas Joscelyn & Bill Roggio on October 8, 2009 2:12 PM to The Long War Journal
Available online at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/10/analysis_al_qaeda_is.php

We do not think that a shift to a predominately counterterrorism campaign utilizing airstrikes and the like is sufficient to beat back the threat to America’s interests. In fact, we argue that such thinking is rooted in a dangerous ignorance of al Qaeda and our terrorist enemies. Al Qaeda was never a self-contained problem that could be defeated by neutralizing select individuals – even though capturing or killing senior al Qaeda members surely does substantially weaken the network.
Instead, Osama bin Laden and his cohorts deliberately fashioned their organization to be the tip of a much longer jihadist spear.

…But we know Obama is not concerned with actually defeating the jihadist…..after all….he can’t risk losing “the whole democratic party” and poll numbers.

If we go this route….the jihadist will declare victory and they will become more energized and dangerous than ever before.

Baxter Greene on October 6, 2010 at 9:40 PM

Just a ploy– a cover for NATO to leave

orfannkyl on October 6, 2010 at 9:43 PM

What’s up with the screencap? Is that a halo?

BacaDog on October 6, 2010 at 9:44 PM

You know those great and smart-looking hats that Karzai is always wearing?

If this continues he won’t need them because he won’t have a head to put them on.

Let’s face it: this is capitulation.

SteveMG on October 6, 2010 at 9:45 PM

“It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar

SoulGlo on October 6, 2010 at 9:46 PM

He is risen.

WisCon on October 6, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Surrender. The path of least resistance…

Hog Wild on October 6, 2010 at 9:48 PM

What if Patreaus makes this happen. Media is going to make people believe Obama did it, when in actuality… Petreaus did it.


upinak on October 6, 2010 at 9:50 PM

What’s up with the screencap? Is that a halo?

BacaDog on October 6, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Nope. Just a “D”unce in the middle of a circle. The new logo.

Electrongod on October 6, 2010 at 9:51 PM

Nope. Just a “D”unce in the middle of a circle. The new logo.

Electrongod on October 6, 2010 at 9:51 P

Heh. His head’s certainly the right shape.

Missy on October 6, 2010 at 9:56 PM

If I were Karzai, knowing how important I was to this Administration, other than being a political football, and knowing that in less than a year I and my country would be left high and dry by the US…I’d be seeking other solutions.

coldwarrior on October 6, 2010 at 9:57 PM

The obligatory AP “monumentally positive international news is brewing with a prominent photo of Obama” post.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on October 6, 2010 at 9:58 PM

The Taliban won’t take Karzai seriously until he trades that weird lid for a traditional Afghan stack-O’-pancakes hat.

Bishop on October 6, 2010 at 10:06 PM

The threshold question: Is Karzai doing this with or without the U.S.’s blessing?
I do hope that the US and Canada can still snuff
them out,the Tall E Ban that is!!

canopfor on October 6, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, told reporters last week that high-level Taliban leaders had “sought to reach out” to the top level of the Karzai government. “This is how you end these kinds of insurgencies,” he said.

But in Iraq….we actually showed the enemy (al-qaeda,shia militia’s) we were in it to win then combined forces with the locals to defeat them(much better ROE’s also) before the insurgency was shut down.

None of this has been done in Afghanistan.Although there are elements of the Taliban that could be worked with….I have yet to see a definition of what a “moderate” Taliban is.
This seems more like a game of semantics in allowing Afghanistan to be turned over to the same enemy we came there to defeat, but will now be left stronger if we exit this way.

We don’t have enough troops there to secure and hold while we drive out the enemy in the tribal regions that hold the true power in Afghanistan.Maliki has also announced that Contractors will have to be gone by the end of the year…..taking thousands of security personal out of the region that are doing the jobs the locals can’t do:

Karzai Bans Security Firms

BY Herschel Smith

Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced in August that private security contractors would have to cease operations by the end of the year — wiping out an industry with tens of thousands of guards who protect military convoys, government officials, and businesspeople.

…This will work out just great…….how in the he!! is less security in the region supposed to help….
…unless you want them out of the way so that the jihadist can have more control.

But don’t worry….the ANA and ANP are ready to fill in this void:

Taliban has infiltrated Afghan forces, claims ex-UN official in warning that sleeper cells are awaiting instructions to strike

By Daily Mail Reporter

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1317519/Taliban-infiltrated-Afghan-forces-Sleeper-cells-awaiting-instructions-strike.html#ixzz11dNOsrtP

Former executive director of the UN’s Office of Drugs and Crime in Afghanistan, Antonio Maria Costa said Taliban sleeper cells had been set up inside the security forces.

According to Dr Costa the Taliban have already carried out a number of attacks and have scheduled further hits on Nato-led troops.

This is an unmitigated disaster and shows just how much of a joke these supposed negotiations are.

This is not the sign of an enemy that is beaten down and ready to negotiate to save it’s hide…..this is the sign of an enemy that knows we are not in this to win and has all the leverage concerning the outcome of this war.

……Just about everything we hear coming from the White House and the war in Afghanistan consists of trying to figure out how to get out with as much political cover as possible.

Obama spent most of 2009 trying to get the military to come up with an exit plan that would provide him political cover.
Now it is starting to look like his wish is starting to come true.

Baxter Greene on October 6, 2010 at 10:09 PM


SlaveDog on October 6, 2010 at 10:16 PM

Bingo, CW!
Karzai is making a deal to keep his head. He knows that the Americans and all their Western buddies are going to declare victory and slowly ease off stage, leaving him to fend for himself against an undefeated Taliban.
Karzai is trying to stay alive!

Lew on October 6, 2010 at 10:16 PM

Useful idiots emboldening terrorists.

amerpundit on October 6, 2010 at 10:16 PM

As long as there is a lively Taliban, with enough influence to negotiate the end of war, the war is not over.

JCred on October 6, 2010 at 10:21 PM

So our Al Capone in Kabul, Harmad Karzai, is in high level talks with the Taliban. What would a grand compromise consist of I wonder. The Taliban would like to be able to stone women to death 7 days a week and Karzai would not be at all comfortable with stonings more than 3 days a week, so they compromise on 5 days a week? What have we gotten ourselves into? So much blood and treasure. Grandma always did say ‘Lay down with Muslims Dogs, get up with fleas’. Grandma would have given Davy Petraues many a good switching and maybe he would have grown up with more sense.

Jeckle on October 6, 2010 at 10:25 PM

And why would any sane person trust the Taliban or the Haqqanis to keep up their end of the bargain given the jihadi track record when it comes to peace treaties?

And why would any sane person trust Hamid Karzai with more American Blood and Treasure? He has already played kissyface with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Why would any sane person trust Muslims in general? Al-taqiyya is not a restaurant.

Jeckle on October 6, 2010 at 10:41 PM

“a Taliban commander told NBC News’ Richard Engel that many insurgents would wait out the offensive.”

“They (U.S. and coalition troops) will come in and announce that they have conquered the area. We will let them come in. They are welcome.
“They will ask, ‘Are there any Taliban in the area?’ We will say, ‘Yes, but they have left’,” the Taliban leader added.
“We will not fight them face-to-face,” he said. “We will shake their hands, as civilians. Then they will leave.”

This is pretty much the same game that Iran is playing with the West right now.Stall….talk about bogus plans for peace…..then take over and declare victory when the West packs up to leave.

These negotiations are no different than the bogus peace agreements that Pakistan has made.They were never honored and did nothing but allowed our enemy to regroup.

The cost for these bogus negotiations could be extremely high if these reports are accurate:

US, allies plan $500m fund to woo Taliban

By Anwar Iqbal
Wednesday, 27 Jan, 2010

WASHINGTON: The United States and its allies are expected to set up a $500 million integration fund at a conference in London this week to lure Taliban fighters to join the political mainstream.

Along with millions of dollars to go to “moderate” Taliban…..these talks also centered on delivering defensive weapons to them in Afghanistan/Pakistan and kicking India to the curb:


The Pakistani demand has been succinctly laid out by Munir Akram, one of its top diplomats: “Pakistan’s cooperation should be offered only in exchange for tangible and immediate US support for Pakistan’s national objectives: an end to Indian-Afghan interference in Baluchistan and FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas); a Kashmir solution; a military balance between Pakistan and India; parity with India on nuclear issues; transfer of equipment and technology for counter-terrorism ; unconditional defense and economic assistance; free trade access.”

So in effect….we would be leaving Afghanistan much stronger and deadlier than it was before we invaded in 2001.
We would also be leaving Pakistan to continue to train and fund jihadist around the world.
Then we would continue to build them up even more after we were gone.
Seems more than ironic that the same liberals that always snarked about how “we know how deadly Saddam was because we still have the receipts from arming him” are the same ones now negotiating to run for the exits while we arm them to the teeth and leave them plenty of spending money.

Baxter Greene on October 6, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Women hardest hit – again,

OldEnglish on October 6, 2010 at 10:48 PM

The Obama administration has said time and again that Pakistan is ground zero for jihadist training and financing.
If this is so…than why are they so intent on turning Afghanistan into Pakistan II.
These negotiations between different elements of the Taliban to try and control them have never been successful.It is just one power struggle after another with a lot of dead people in the middle of it.
Pakistan’s true leader General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and his ISI chief are working overtime to get the Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, now based in Pakistan, to control southern Afghanistan through a deal they appear to be negotiating with a beleaguered Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Karzai has very little power and is dependent on Pakistan to help him create some type of power sharing that does not involve his head being cut off.
The West with all of the abilities to crush this enemy and conduct real peace negotiations instead sits at the table and hopes that something can be done so we can get the he!! out.

Unfortunately…when you leave without defeating the enemy…you end up having to come back.
The jihadist are not going to go away after some faux peace deal is made.
They will feel stronger than ever and will use this exit to show jihadist everywhere that the Caliphate is within reach……….
…….Iran getting a nuclear bomb only escalates how dangerous this capitulation will end up being for the West.

Baxter Greene on October 6, 2010 at 11:04 PM

Well that whole Paris Peace Process worked out well for the South Vietnamese didn’t it?

What’s not to like about a negotiated end to the conflict in Afghanistan?

Peace at last….Peace at last….GOOD GOD, we have peace at last. (With honor)

Skandia Recluse on October 6, 2010 at 11:09 PM

Bill Roggio of The Long War Journal produced some excellent insight into how dubious the idea of peace with the Taliban actually is:


Amrullah Saleh, the former chief of the National Directorate of Security, resigned weeks ago in part because of President Karzai’s desire to share power with the Taliban. Here is what he had to say about negotiating with the Taliban. From Quqnoos:

I will mention a political program held by Lemar TV in which a Kochi lady from the northern Balkh province was talking. I agree with that lady’s comments, in which she said that President Karzai must not destroy the determination of the majority of Afghan people by pleading to a small group of terrorists. We must hold a Jirga that will respond to the will of 97 percent of Afghans. We must not hold a Jirga in which the will of 97 percent of Afghans will be dealt with for a small group. Karzai became president with the people’s votes. Why does the president force this nation to weaken its determination? Why doesn’t the president use force? This is the point of my disagreement with the president and I am not keeping it secret. There are hundreds of other reasons for my disagreements with the president, which I do not want to talk about now. The second main reason for my disagreement with the president is that he ordered the remission of the Taliban under a decree. I cannot forgive the murderers of the martyred Dr. Abdullah [Mr Saleh’s colleague], and I also cannot work in a government that forgives the Taliban.

And Saleh’s statement on negotiations with the likes of the Taliban speaks for itself:

I think this policy will not bring honourable peace. Showing a soft stance with a murderer who has killed more than a thousand does not seem like an honourable peace. Even I do not think that this soft stance results in peace. This soft behaviour makes the enemy’s intention even stronger and makes the confidence of friends shaky.

It is not only that I say this now, after stepping down, go to your archives and see.
I support peace and I’m not an element against peace, but gaining peace through soft behaviour and expressing humility has not brought about results in human history. Any nation that wants to achieve something must speak louder than a whimper.

This man speaks with more clarity and strength than Obama ever thought about possessing……and Obama is the Commander and Chief of the greatest fighting force in the world.

Appeasement is not the answer.

Baxter Greene on October 6, 2010 at 11:18 PM

What a waste. The whole thing.

LegendHasIt on October 7, 2010 at 12:32 AM

What a waste. The whole thing.

LegendHasIt on October 7, 2010 at 12:32 AM

This…plus, the zero looks like a Talibani with that halo, which actually comes across like a turban.

Schadenfreude on October 7, 2010 at 1:18 AM

riddle me this: Why on earth would the Taliban be looking for a peace deal now, after “smaller-than-expected NATO gains” this summer and knowing that political pressure in the U.S. to end the war is already sufficiently high as to force Obama’s dopey withdrawal start date next July

Republicans are on the rise. They may not be gung-ho about Obama’s lackluster performance on the war, but they will be more supportive than his own base, which is in decline. The Taliban might be thinking about this. They may also be expecting (rightly or wrongly) a triangulation after the mid-terms.

Think about it from their point of view:

1993 U.S. under Clinton/Democrats reveals itself to be a paper tiger.

2001 Taliban harbors Bin Laden before/after 9/11. U.S. response all but destroys them, sends Bin Laden deep into hiding. At one point the war in Iraq starts to take a more prominent role, and the Taliban are able to regroup somewhat, though it’s still a tough fight. All the while, Bush and the republicans are aggressively hunting them, while the Democrats scream for withdrawal, louder and louder with each bomb and each American casualty.

In 2006, when the Democrats gain congress, they do everything they can to defy Bush, but he pushes on with the surge (in Iraq, but the Taliban is watching), with Republican backing.

In 2008, the Republicans are seemingly destroyed for the near future, and Obama is more interested in catering to the left – calls for withdraw are stronger – Obama has more support on the war from the Repubs than from his own party.

2010: Speaking of Repubs, guess who’s about to come back into power?

RINO in Name Only on October 7, 2010 at 2:31 AM

AP is probably right in this. Iraq is a relatively sophisticated culture that happens to be muslim so the govt forces, after an initially shaky start have begun to develop a coherence of their own and are able to survive terrorist and insurgent attacks without fracturing. Afghanistan is a primitive culture that also happens to be muslim where no govts writ (even the Talib) has run everywhere – hence govt forces are easily fissured….it’s like the difference between New York and Detroit…

callingallcomets on October 7, 2010 at 5:17 AM

We lost as soon as ۞jesus announced the idiotic withdrawal start date. Any negotiations will be for naught, as is any agreement with people who are told by their Holy Writings that lying is just fine as long as it furthers the cause.

Smart power.

hillbillyjim on October 7, 2010 at 6:50 AM

While Karzai is a skunk and his government is a joke, I certainly can’t fault him for this. He knows his puppetmasters are running out of money, men, and home-front backing for a hopeless cause.

So…he starts frantically trying to cut a deal so he and his aren’t beheaded or shot for cooperating with the enemy. Best of luck to him. As America has learned the hard way, the Taliban don’t stay bought.

Dark-Star on October 7, 2010 at 1:04 PM