Clinton: Time to talk with Mullah Omar

posted at 10:30 am on October 29, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Before we get to Mullah Omar and Hillary Clinton, let’s offer a few prayers for the thirteen Americans killed in action by one of Omar’s suicide-bombing terrorists in Kabul today:

At least 13 U.S. service members were killed in Kabul on Saturday when a suicide bomber struck a vehicle in a NATO military convoy, a U.S. military official said.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force confirmed 13 deaths within its force, but did not identify their nationalities.

The U.S. official emphasized details are continuing to unfold. A heavily damaged vehicle is believed to be an armored bus that was carrying U.S. troops in the convoy.

The attack caused a “number” of NATO and local Afghan casualties, ISAF said in a statement. Four Afghans, including two students, were also killed, said Hasmat Stanikzai, spokesman for Kabul’s police chief.

As CNN notes, it’s the largest single-day loss in Afghanistan since August, when 38 people were killed in an attack on a helicopter, including 17 Navy SEALs from Team Six, the same team that took part in the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.  Their families can use our support in prayers and thoughts today.

Now, what was it that Hillary Clinton said about talking with Mullah Omar?

In an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mrs Clinton said the United States would continue to “fight, talk and build” inAfghanistan and Pakistan to “test whether these organisations have any willingness to negotiate in good faith”.

She said there was “evidence going both ways” on its intentions, citing the Haqqani Network’s response to a Pakistan-brokered meeting in August between US officials and Ibrahim Haqqani, the brother of the group’s top leader Jalaluddin Haqqani. …

Mrs Clinton said the Haqqani meeting not a “negotiation” and that no subsequent meetings have followed it, but stressed any future negotiations with the Taliban would need the Quetta Shura’s blessing.

“The negotiations that would be part of any Afghan-led peace process would have to include the Quetta Shura and would have to include some recognition by the Quetta Shura which, based on everything we know, is still led by Mullah Omar, that they wish to participate in such a process … We are pursuing every thread of any kind of interest expressed,” she said.

This is a significant shift from even a few months ago, the Telegraph reports.  The US has held indirect talks with lower-level Taliban leadership and Pashtun tribal leadership in hopes of marginalizing and eventually isolating Omar and his top lieutenants, efforts that started during the Bush administration.  The US position has been that Omar was an accessory to 9/11, either before the fact or, in hiding AQ and bin Laden, after the fact.  As such, the US has until now made clear that we would not tolerate Omar remaining free in any resolution of the war in Afghanistan.

What changed?  Clinton apparently got an earful from Pakistan last week, where General Kiyani — seen as a US-friendly resource and a key reason why we can continue drone strikes in Pakistan — told Clinton that there won’t be any peace without the Quetta Shura, and that means Mullah Omar.  We have tried for ten years to split the Pashtuns from the Quetta Shura and Omar, and it’s simply not working.

Afghanistan has been in civil war since before 9/11.  We removed the Taliban by uniting its opposing warlords to expel Omar and to get a large number of Pashtuns out of power (although Hamid Karzai is a Pashtun himself).  There is no reconciliation possible without Pashtun participation.  If the Pashtuns won’t change their leadership and remain loyal to the Quetta Shura, then we will either have to fight in Afghanistan indefinitely, or we will have to start dealing with the Pashtuns on their terms.

Even with that said, it’s not clear that the Pashtuns will talk even if we do start dealing with their current Taliban leadership.  They just assassinated the head of the Afghanistan High Peace Council, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, with a suicide bomber that brought him  — I kid you not — a supposed “message of peace”.  Karzai told the US and Pakistan that there would be no further talks without Pakistan acting as a guarantor, which means that Pakistan will end up controlling the peace process from now on and not the US.  Omar will get a better deal with the Pakistanis in charge, but so far the Taliban have never claimed to want a deal that didn’t include them holding total power in Afghanistan.

Those are the choices we have left in front of us.  None of them are terribly palatable, but with Pakistan controlling most of the lines of communication into Afghanistan, we’re eventually going to have to choose from among them.

Update: The Navy SEALs who got killed in August were part of the same Team Six that ran the OBL mission, but not necessarily the same team members on that mission.  I’ve corrected the text above.

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Howsabout we invite him to a sit down then shoot him?

Akzed on October 29, 2011 at 10:34 AM

including 17 Navy SEALs that took part in the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

Actually, I believe they were SEAL Team Six members, but not individual soldiers who participated in the Bin Laden raid. Unless that news was revised since that horrible day.

SoRight on October 29, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Killing your enemy is, in fact, a negotiating tactic.

Its a way of getting your opponent to the table and forcing terms that favor your position.

It seems Hillary is doing nothing more than creating a diversion from the F&F, Solyndra, and Occupy stories in advance of the upcoming election campaigns.

“Nice sword you got there, Hillary. Why don’t you just fall on it for the team?”

BobMbx on October 29, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Vital national interest…???

JohnGalt23 on October 29, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Smart Power!

Let’s negotiate with terrorists, it’s the new Obama Doctrine.

ButterflyDragon on October 29, 2011 at 10:41 AM

but with Pakistan controlling most of the lines of communication into Afghanistan, we’re eventually going to have to choose from among them.

A CIA that was doing its job would foment and support another coup in Pakistan. One that we could control afterwards.

Life is simple. Don’t over-complicate things.

BobMbx on October 29, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Hey Mullah Omar! Talk to the armed drone! The rest of us are not listening!

pilamaye on October 29, 2011 at 10:50 AM

We need to tighten up our ROE even more, so they’ll learn to love us and want to live like us. Something bin Laden said about strong horse-weak horse comes to mind.

a capella on October 29, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Pathetic.

Mullah Omar would lop off her head if he were free to choose. I’m sure he’d like to lop off Obama’s b*lls, but, alas. There are no balls to be found in this Oflopistration.

Fap

Key West Reader on October 29, 2011 at 10:51 AM

We need to tighten up our ROE even more, so they’ll learn to love us and want to live like us. Something bin Laden said about strong horse-weak horse comes to mind.

a capella on October 29, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I think we should have a cup of tea. Yes.

Obama is nothing more than a lilly livered, pansy assed tool of the left. He is a girl on a playground of Men. Nobody fears him.

Key West Reader on October 29, 2011 at 10:56 AM

There are always other options when you’re the lone superpower. Assassinations, bribes, blackmail, coups, forthright military strikes, punitive expeditions … Hell, India’s the perfect “ally” to use for leverage on Pakistan.

No imagination, Hillary. No balls, Obama.

OhioCoastie on October 29, 2011 at 10:56 AM

If we’re not negotiating unconditional surrender the we obviously aren’t fighting this as a war.
This is sickening

darwin-t on October 29, 2011 at 10:57 AM

A beard of Flies.

Obama likes flies, because they cling to bullsh*t.

Key West Reader on October 29, 2011 at 10:58 AM

If we’re not negotiating unconditional surrender the we obviously aren’t fighting this as a war.
This is sickening

darwin-t on October 29, 2011 at 10:57 AM

If Obama went to meet with the moo-lah, he’d ask permission to sit upon the rug of filth. His wife would catch the flies. She has that kind of mouth.

Key West Reader on October 29, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Stupid People are Ruining America

Key West Reader on October 29, 2011 at 11:03 AM

LOL

Key West Reader on October 29, 2011 at 11:05 AM

prayers for the familes of those soldiers. And no it is not time to “make a deal” either fight to win the freaking war or get out. No amount of negationations will solve the problem. All Obama and Hillary are looking for is the Nixion answer to a ending a war and it will have the same result.

unseen on October 29, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Remember the days when we wouldn’t negotiate with terrorists?

Good times, good times.

Rebar on October 29, 2011 at 11:10 AM

If Hillary sits down and talks with him maybe he’ll be blinded in both eyes. ;-)

rhombus on October 29, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Stupid People are Ruining America

Key West Reader on October 29, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Great clip KWR.

VegasRick on October 29, 2011 at 11:17 AM

I thought Mullah Omar had been droned out of this world a long time ago.

albill on October 29, 2011 at 11:27 AM

From leading from behind… to leading with the behind. It’s apparently even more submissive than bowing.

ExpressoBold on October 29, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Think we could sent a killer android to the meeting?

You know he’d fall for fembots.

Speakup on October 29, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Hillary! is probably ironing the white hanky even as we speak. Gotta get this checked off of Barry’s “to do” list before the election starts heating up, and since Hillary! is bowing out of public service after her stint as SOS, going down in history as our version of Chamberlain is no biggie.

tpitman on October 29, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Tears just reading this story…for two reasons.

tomas on October 29, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Tears just reading this story…for two reasons.

tomas on October 29, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Tears and anger.

VegasRick on October 29, 2011 at 11:39 AM

We just lost thirteen souls to these people. This is no time to surrender, unless you are a Dem trying to get re-elected.

Hening on October 29, 2011 at 11:40 AM

In war, the only time to negotiate with your enemy is after you have defeated him. And, those negotiations are limited to defining the conditions under which you will allow him and his people to continue to live.

TXUS on October 29, 2011 at 11:46 AM

We came, we saw, we folded.

TXUS on October 29, 2011 at 11:46 AM

We know where Mullah Omar is. The question is why he doesn’t deserve a hell fire missile like all his brethren? That’s a question only something the CIA can answer.

Who doesn’t think that these are politically timed kills of the most wanted, on the jiahdi terrorist list? They are getting their numbers punched when their demise has the most benefit politically back here at home.

Who is so naive to believe, we don’t know where this one eyed, 6 foot something rock thrower is residing? Who is so gullible, they don’t think we monitor all his comings, and goings? It’s all a question of when it’s politically expedient to pull the trigger on these rustics. Look at the photo of this guy, who thinks Omar has been outsmarting the pentagon, NSA, CIA etc. for the last 10 years? The answer is we know where he is, and our government doesn’t hesitate to spend our blood and treasure, on something a manned CIA drone could cure. Someone is managing the war in Afghanistan, they aren’t trying to win anything.

Dr Evil on October 29, 2011 at 11:47 AM

I can speak on this as I am in AFG as I type this and it was the worst ground tragedy we have had in the war to date! So prayers for all our fallen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines.

As far as Mullah Omar, that is a dead end…pun intended. The Taliban have no need or desire to have a sit down! Just another typical line of thought by a liberal of “Well if we can just figure out why they hate us…”

Mullah Omar and the other leaders of the Haqqani Network will NEVER be honest brokers and so there is no need to talk to them. Trust me on this with first hand experience and six years in Iraq as well.

g2825m on October 29, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Kissmygrits on October 29, 2011 at 11:49 AM

I bet they don’t see “eye to eye” bu-dum-dump! (I’m here all week).

bernzright777 on October 29, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Mullah Omar and the other leaders of the Haqqani Network will NEVER be honest brokers and so there is no need to talk to them. Trust me on this with first hand experience and six years in Iraq as well.

g2825m on October 29, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Stay safe friend, prayers are with you.

VegasRick on October 29, 2011 at 11:54 AM

g2825m on October 29, 2011 at 11:48 AM

God Bless you and all over there and thank you for your service. :)

sicoit on October 29, 2011 at 11:55 AM

I read headlines about our lost soldiers. Then I read about the US having talks with the Taliban. Again. Which turns my stomach more? It’s hard to tell.

scalleywag on October 29, 2011 at 12:01 PM

sicoit on October 29, 2011 at 11:55 AM
VegasRick on October 29, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Thank you!! Let’s see if we can get some change in 2012.

Just so you all know we are taking it to these guys over here…it is just tough when you are undercut on your goals and because of decisions back in DC you then have to readjust missions so that it does not endanger men and women further. THIS war if it continues this way will have remnants of a Vietnam style departure.

Iraq was another epic failure here at the end and the Iraqis there wanted us to stay BUT politically PM Maliki had to say he didn’t need us but internally the Kurds, Shia, and Sunni needed us to stay for various reasons and said it many times to us. I just left there in May and am now over here helping in the fight.

g2825m on October 29, 2011 at 12:02 PM

We came, we saw, we folded.

TXUS on October 29, 2011 at 11:46 AM

Vini, Vici, Origami

BobMbx on October 29, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Mullah Omar, we’ll neeed your GPS coordinates to arrange a sit-down.

profitsbeard on October 29, 2011 at 12:27 PM

At least 13 U.S. service members were killed in Kabul on Saturday when a suicide bomber struck a vehicle in a NATO military convoy, a U.S. military official said.

Lost American Heroes………….dying to save a bunch of 7th century savages and a democratically elected dictator (Karzai).

This blood and treasure spilled in that hellhole brought to you by 10 years of politically correct “warfare/kinetic military action”.

How do politicians sleep at night?

PappyD61 on October 29, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Vini, Vici, Origami

BobMbx on October 29, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Well played

darwin-t on October 29, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Mullah Omar, we’ll neeed your GPS coordinates to arrange a sit-down.

profitsbeard on October 29, 2011 at 12:27 PM

I think there must be a reason both Omar and Karzai are still above ground, to make it look like we are doing something in Afghanistan? What is the State Department’s game plan I sure hope it’s not the same one they have been running back home on our Mexican border.

Although seeing how the Libyan rebels are now flying Al Qeada and Osama Bin Laden’s flag- colors, I am sure that doesn’t mean all the arms we gave them to fight Qaddafi, will be turned on us now/

Al-Qaida plants its flag — literally — in Libya

Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta , Solid B+/

The next republican debate topic is supposed to be about national defense and our foreign policy. It seems to me all but Ron Paul will be on the same page when it comes to the defense of this country.

Dr Evil on October 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM

The inevitable question that no one yet is asking:
If we see Mullah Omar as an accessory to 9/11, then why haven’t we taken him out yet?

The Taliban enabled Al Quaeda to strike. We should treat them like Al Quaeda and start removing those who bear the guilt. Start removing the top leadership of the Taliban, and see just how long it takes for them to want to come to terms.

Now there’s a negotiating tactic!

There Goes The Neighborhood on October 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM

The inevitable question that no one yet is asking:
If we see Mullah Omar as an accessory to 9/11, then why haven’t we taken him out yet?

We’re trying over here but this is no news to you all BUT Omar is most likely the same place UBL was…Pakeeeeestan, “our allies.”

Good night all from here and we appreciate the support and prayers!

g2825m on October 29, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Get all the good ones out and make the region into glass. Nothing else will solve anything.

They’ve made progress since 2001 – they went from the 7th century into the 11th.

Schadenfreude on October 29, 2011 at 1:08 PM

Hopefully the “conversation” will come in the form of a hellfire missile.

One way conversation is after all very very effective with these TERRORISTS.

RealMc on October 29, 2011 at 1:25 PM

How about assassinating the Shura leadership? Seems simple to me.

antisocial on October 29, 2011 at 5:01 PM

The Afghan negotiator with the Taliban a couple of months ago was blown to bits, by a bomb in a turban of the Taliban negotiating delegation. Oh, yeah, these crazy religious zealots can be trusted. (Double facepalm)

SC.Charlie on October 29, 2011 at 6:54 PM