Bad news: Taliban suspends peace talks with U.S. that were never going anywhere anyway

posted at 8:01 pm on March 15, 2012 by Allahpundit

Oddly enough, this might not be directly related to the Koran-burnings or last weekend’s rampage against Afghan civilians. The sticking point appears, rather, to be a prisoner exchange: The Taliban wants one but the White House, which needs congressional approval and is unlikely to get it in an election year, probably can’t deliver. And since the Taliban is uninterested in sharing power with Karzai or any other western-oriented corruptocrat, there’s really nothing else to talk about. The recent drama is relevant only insofar as it further encourages the waiting game the Taliban’s been playing for nearly 11 years. The more chaotic U.S./Afghan relations become, the greater the likelihood of a speedy withdrawal, the less incentive the jihadis have to make any kind of deal.

Tom Joscelyn reminds me, in fact, that when Hillary first mentioned the idea of peace talks publicly, it was all about getting the Taliban to renounce Al Qaeda, lay down their weapons, and join the Afghan government. They won’t do that, though, so instead the talks have drifted towards a prisoner swap, presumably as a sort of icebreaker and show of trust so that we can get them talking about our real goals. And so the peace talks end up as a metaphor for the whole war. Not only does the public have no real sense of what’s going on, the objective seems to keep changing.

American officials said in recent weeks that there had been no talks of any substance since January, when Ambassador Marc Grossman, the United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and his team last visited the region. Even the meetings held then did little to move the process beyond the “talks about talks” stage, and the Afghan government had not yet begun to play any significant role in the effort, despite statements from President Karzai to the contrary, the officials said…

“Acknowledging their involvement in Qatar talks was a significant move for the Taliban. They expected that the U.S. would move quickly with confidence building measures,” said Michael Semple, a Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. “The transfer of Taliban leaders to Qatar was top on the list. The Taliban announcement of suspending engagement in Qatar is a response to their frustration at the US’s slowness to deliver.” Mr. Semple said a series of crises to beset the Americans in the Afghanistan conflict since the start of the year had added another layer of uncertainty to the talks, emboldening Taliban hardliners to press back against the peace effort. “The Taliban also believe that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is in disarray and their hardliners want to take advantage of that by launching a new fighting season.”

Newsweek has more, including this dagger of a quote from a Taliban commander: “The problem with the talks is that the U.S. is talking from the position of a winner, but we are in the position of victors, so the U.S. should meet our demands.”

Despite all the problems, however, some senior Taliban leaders are advising the Quetta Shura that the negotiations should continue. There’s no better way for the insurgency to improve its diplomatic, political, and military position, they say. “The leadership of the Taliban must realize that the window of peace talks must remain open,” says Zabihullah, a senior Taliban political operative. “The biggest problem we had when we were in power was that we discounted the U.S. and the world community. That should not happen again.” nevertheless, he warns, “I am afraid that some of our military heavyweights may bulldoze their way to stop the talks.”

In any case, the negotiations may very well be sunk by the Taliban’s hard-line insistence on returning an Islamic regime to power in Kabul. “No one among the Taliban would argue against ending the war,” says the senior Taliban commander. “But ending the war must be based on our important principles.” That attitude doesn’t raise much hope for future talks.

Note that bit about how the Taliban sees its pre-9/11 isolation as a mistake. The one thing we have that they may want if/when they take back power from Karzai’s government is relations with the west. State legitimacy plus some measure of trade would help them consolidate power ahead of the next internecine tribal conflict. Hard to believe Obama or Romney or anyone else would have the political capital to grant them that, though. If it happened, it would mean that 9/11 and the long war afterward not only failed to permanently dislodge the Taliban from power but actually earned them a degree of international acceptance that they didn’t have before. Americans would choke on that, especially once the new government resumed its Islamist business of blowing up other cultures’ religious icons and shooting women in stadiums.

But like the man said, they’re the ones with the leverage here:

Danger Room is keeping score on who’s for and against pulling out: “Backing a quicker withdrawal: the White House; NATO; two out of three major Republican presidential candidates; Afghan President Hamid Karzai; and (um) the Taliban. Against a quicker withdrawal: the U.S. military and a handful of GOP legislators.” Actually, Karzai isn’t quite endorsing a faster withdrawal from the country but rather having U.S. troops pull back to their bases next year so that the Afghan military can take over security, a la Iraq. That’s his way of pandering to anti-American sentiment inside the country without quite calling on us to leave, which, as he knows, would be an epic clusterfark once Afghan troops struggled to keep the peace. Even so, given how staggeringly war weary Americans are, I’m amazed that he has the balls to float pullback/withdrawal ideas publicly lest the White House turn around and take him up on it, sealing his fate. He knows, I guess, that American pride insists on some sort of orderly exit. I wonder if he’s already picked out a country to which he’ll flee once we’re gone.


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First…and we all knew this was coming…

MooCowBang on March 15, 2012 at 8:05 PM

10 years of wasted American blood and treasure.

Thousands of American heroes wounded, killed, maimed for this bunch of 7th Century Goat herders with Opium for their cash crop.

I remember when Bush 43 gave America the mission to “spread democracy” in his 2005 Inaugural address. Nation building and trying to drag people into the 21st Century only works if they want to.

STOP with the Nation building already.

PappyD61 on March 15, 2012 at 8:06 PM

That entire region is such a dump hole that it’s almost comical.

Bishop on March 15, 2012 at 8:08 PM

I do wonder what W would have done.

Cindy Munford on March 15, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Does anyone else look at the photo of Karzai and see an Afghan Obama?

For some reason, his expression and finger-pointing are all Obama to me.

Resist We Much on March 15, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Actually, Karzai isn’t quite endorsing a faster withdrawal from the country but rather having U.S. troops pull back to their bases next year so that the Afghan military can take over security, a la Iraq.

Yes, of course. Compress the defensive perimeter our troops live in. Bunch them togather as much as possible… in a place anyone nearby knows the location of.

Nothing bad can come from that… right?

Concede ground to the enemy. That’s a successful military concept according to historical battles… right?

Why stop there? Let’s change the Rules of Engagement. Our people can’t fire back until they are fired on 3 times. The first might have been a mistake. The second was probably an accident. The third time, “hey… someone is shooting as us” and then it’s Okie Dokie to react. Should be a real retention booster.

I’ve got a crazy idea. They’ve had a decade to get their act togather. Let’s get out of the way and throw them in the deep end of the pool. If the Taliban take over, since we have conquered the country before, and now have every single inch of the country mapped out, and now know we have to block the Pakistan and Iran borders before we invade again to compress our enemy into our kill zone.

If the Taliban feels froggy in the future… go ahead and jump.

Hog Wild on March 15, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Karzai’s cabal of Pashtun drug lords and the Taliban are not the kind of people you can negotiate with.

This farce is indefensible.

CorporatePiggy on March 15, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Quit teasing, Allah, and give us that juicy Santorum anti-porn thread that you know is going to melt down.

MadisonConservative on March 15, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Wish we had national leadership who were willing to tell the Taliban the exact same thing they’ve been telling Afghans for decades…”Submit, or Die!”

And had the cajones to back it up.

As for Karzai, a quote from the old Bill Cosby television series comes to mind. When Cosby tells Theo, “I brought you into the world. I can take you out.”

The only ROE we really need out there is a simple one. If it is moving, it is Taliban. If it is not moving, it is very well disciplined Taliban. Lock and load.

coldwarrior on March 15, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Smart diplomacy at it’s finest here

sadsushi on March 15, 2012 at 8:18 PM

How about less peace talks and more hostility actions? And then when there’s nothing left standing? THEN leave…

affenhauer on March 15, 2012 at 8:19 PM

Americans would choke on that

Yeah, but the Democrats would relish it….

AUINSC on March 15, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Does anyone else look at the photo of Karzai and see an Afghan Obama?

For some reason, his expression and finger-pointing are all Obama to me.

Resist We Much on March 15, 2012 at 8:09 PM

…yes, but JugEars favors the middle finger!

KOOLAID2 on March 15, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Does anyone else look at the photo of Karzai and see an Afghan Obama?

For some reason, his expression and finger-pointing are all Obama to me.

Resist We Much on March 15, 2012 at 8:09 PM

So that’s why the picture keeps irritating me!

pookysgirl on March 15, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Allah is a mighty fine Blogger. Very dedicated like Ed.

SparkPlug on March 15, 2012 at 8:23 PM

That entire region is such a dump hole that it’s almost comical.

Bishop on March 15, 2012 at 8:08 PM

Well at least they make a lot of cheese. You were talkin’ about Wisconsin right?

SparkPlug on March 15, 2012 at 8:25 PM

Since Obama et al. are stuck on stupid and won’t change the ROEs anyway, let’s get the hell out, elect a new President, and turn the entire effing country into glass if they in so much as pose a whisper of a threat to us in the future.

TXUS on March 15, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Afcrapistan is the ultimate Bridge to Nowhere. Our Army and Marine generals should all be in Leavenworth as they have wasted so many lives and limbs and so much treasure just for their careers and their hubris. They have not helped America in the least. All they have done is help islam with all their “Respect the koran” and all their bowing and scraping to the followers of the Monster who Walked the Earth, Mohammad. God does not make them any lower. They are an utter disgrace to the uniform.

VorDaj on March 15, 2012 at 8:28 PM

SparkPlug on March 15, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Nice try.

The only kind of blandishments AP generally accepts are cash.

:-)

[FTR: Both have made a very positive difference in the blogosphere over the years.]

coldwarrior on March 15, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Is nuking from orbit off the table?

John the Libertarian on March 15, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Allah is a mighty fine Blogger. Very dedicated like Ed.

SparkPlug on March 15, 2012 at 8:23 PM

…am I gonna have to get you knee pads or a prayer rug? (:>)

KOOLAID2 on March 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM

The libtards want to fabricate out of thin air a repub “War on Women” while the Chosen One negotiates with scumbags that stone to death women that are raped….when did the world turn upside down.

David in ATL on March 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM

bring ‘em home!

DBear on March 15, 2012 at 8:38 PM

Does anyone else look at the photo of Karzai and see an Afghan Obama?

For some reason, his expression and finger-pointing are all Obama to me.

Resist We Much on March 15, 2012 at 8:09 PM
So that’s why the picture keeps irritating me!

pookysgirl on March 15, 2012 at 8:22 PM

(I’m gonna get it for this one)….GOSH!…you noticed the expression and finger-pointing…I think the hair’s the same too! (:>)

KOOLAID2 on March 15, 2012 at 8:41 PM


The more chaotic U.S./Afghan relations become, the greater the likelihood of a speedy withdrawal, the less incentive the jihadis have to make any kind of deal.

And the more likely the taliban will defeat the ANA … and this’ll be seen as a defeat for the US, even though we won and the ANA lost, just like when we defeated the VC and the NVA, but the ARVN lost after we left.

Tony737 on March 15, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Get out of there, and turn that sh!thole into glass.

chewmeister on March 15, 2012 at 8:47 PM

I do wonder what W would have done.

Cindy Munford on March 15, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Issued a statement, surrounded by Grover Norquist, a bunch of imams and the thugs from CAIR reminding us that “Islam is the religion of peace.”

bw222 on March 15, 2012 at 8:48 PM

First this wasn’t ten years of wasted blood and treasure. But there comes a time when public policy needs to decide that our efforts can go no further and when it comes to Afghanistan and the region, we got there several years ago.

Happy Nomad on March 15, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Who has checked out bho’s picks for march madness? That seems much more important than a friend kicking us out of the country so our sworn enemy can take back over. Gosh, you people are just out of touch.

Molonlabe2004 on March 15, 2012 at 8:48 PM

bw222 on March 15, 2012 at 8:48 PM

That would be Barry.

chewmeister on March 15, 2012 at 8:49 PM

The libtards want to fabricate out of thin air a repub “War on Women” while the Chosen One negotiates with scumbags that stone to death women that are raped….when did the world turn upside down.

David in ATL on March 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM

But those scumbags are Muslim which makes a difference to Barak Hussein Obama. They have worshiped in mosques and so has Barak Hussein Obama. They hate America and so does Barak Hussein Obama (who has made his entire career on hating America and leveraging race and class to his benefit).

Happy Nomad on March 15, 2012 at 8:51 PM

That would be Barry.

chewmeister on March 15, 2012 at 8:49 PM

No, the only difference is that Grover Norquist wouldn’t show up at Zippy’s.

How quickly you forgot. Check out this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0phxuzQ7sE

bw222 on March 15, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Well no ducking fuh they were never going anywhere. The Taliban leaders have cottened on to the fact that the USA can’t decide to fish or cut bait, so all they have do to is survive long enough.

MelonCollie on March 15, 2012 at 8:57 PM

the less incentive the jihadis have to make any kind of deal.

If it is any consolation, they would break any such deal before the first “victory for everybody” swag bag of V*a*ra wore off.

You cannot beat the slaves of Allah by shielding Allah from suspicion and exposure. This is all Carters, Reagans, Bushs, Clintons, Bushs, Obamas fault. And every other western leader. Ignorance of Islam is not bliss, neither is asking Muslims to explain Islam to you. Nothing has changed, nothing looks likely to change.

BL@KBIRD on March 15, 2012 at 8:58 PM

I think we need to get Obama a Karzai hat and cape for Ramadan.

Resist We Much on March 15, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Gasp! You mean they’ve been STALLING all this time?

Who’d have guessed that. Certainly not Barry and Hillary!

GarandFan on March 15, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Give them all smartphones with GPS trackers as consolation gifts.

Then send drones after the phones.

profitsbeard on March 15, 2012 at 9:04 PM

I wonder if he’s already picked out a country to which he’ll flee once we’re gone.

My money is on Western Europe. The EU hasn’t exactly been ignoring Afghanistan. England perhaps, there are a lot of Asians living in Londonstan.

Delegation of the European Union to Afghanistan.

Dr Evil on March 15, 2012 at 9:05 PM

How about we skip losing more lives and wasting more money by pulling back to bases here in the States now instead of some arbitrary date in 2014?

JohnAGJ on March 15, 2012 at 9:06 PM

That’s alright.

Obama is going to fight the REAL war. The most important War.

/The “War on Women”

heavy sigh

Key West Reader on March 15, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Get Zawahiri before leaving. And put serious hurt on the Haqqani network, too.

Christien on March 15, 2012 at 9:35 PM

When are these animals going to turn over the murderers who killed the officers a couple of weeks ago?

When is the scumbag SCoaMF Pres going to demand they be executed as he has the Sgt in question?

When is Hassan the Ft. Hood terrorist going to be put on trial? It has been almost 3 years now.

Sporty1946 on March 15, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Writing as a veteran, I advocate taking whatever resources are available and doing all we can to hurt the Taliban in whatever time we have left. Hurt them and keep hurting them until the last aircraft is off the ground and heading home. And I’m not talking sending our ground troops out to get good men picked off piecemeal, either. We still have B-52s, right? Use them.

And just how many of their leaders are left, anyway? Seems to me we’ve been decimating their leadership cadres for years. I think they’re bluffing big-time on the strength of their position.

troyriser_gopftw on March 15, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Karzai wants to exit Afghanistan – and wants a seat on one of the NATO planes to his pad in UK and billions stashed in his Swiss bank accounts

Jimbobby on March 15, 2012 at 9:54 PM

Is nuking from orbit off the table?

John the Libertarian on March 15, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Yeah, because of the “No Nukes in Space” treaty. But we still have a wing of B-2s, and I believe that the B-52 fleet is still nuclear capable. So we can hope.

RoadRunner on March 15, 2012 at 10:20 PM

…yes, but JugEars favors the middle finger!

KOOLAID2 on March 15, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Only if its pointing at a soldier…

MooCowBang on March 15, 2012 at 11:03 PM

KOOLAID2 on March 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM

LOL*

SparkPlug on March 15, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Why the entire dungheep known as Afghanistan didn’t become a radioactive pile of ash on 9/12 is beyond me.

Bruno Strozek on March 15, 2012 at 11:53 PM

Actually I agree on getting out (after destroying the poppy fields and chemically lacing the soil)-but setting a departure timetable in advance of negotiations gives the Taliban absolutely no incentive to negotiate in the first place. All they have to do is WAIT!

MaiDee on March 16, 2012 at 12:24 AM

PappyD61: “10 years of wasted American blood and treasure.

That’s what it is.

PappyD61: “Thousands of American heroes wounded, killed, maimed for this bunch of 7th Century Goat herders with Opium for their cash crop.”

We should have destroyed all those opium fields forever, chemically. We should still do that. That would be two for one: enemies punished, drug trade reduced.

PappyD61: “I remember when Bush 43 gave America the mission to “spread democracy” in his 2005 Inaugural address. Nation building and trying to drag people into the 21st Century only works if they want to.”

They don’t want to, and we knew that, at latest, when they adopted a constitution that enshrined Islam as a source of law.

PappyD61: “STOP with the Nation building already.”

Correct.

That’s what George W. Bush promised when he ran for President in the first place. He should have stuck to his promise.

9/11 shouldn’t have been the signal to reverse course and start America on a policy of Islamic nation-building. The response should have been punishment and destruction of enemy resources. More rubble, less trouble. Dust and rock instead of fertile poppy fields, less money for jihad.

David Blue on March 16, 2012 at 2:44 AM

MaiDee: “Actually I agree on getting out (after destroying the poppy fields and chemically lacing the soil)-but setting a departure timetable in advance of negotiations gives the Taliban absolutely no incentive to negotiate in the first place. All they have to do is WAIT!”

There’s no point in getting the Taliban to negotiate, since any promise they make they’ll later break, and the country has nothing of value anyway other than it’s heroin crop.

Destroy all the poppy fields forever. That’s the only thing that matters.

David Blue on March 16, 2012 at 2:54 AM

Afghanistan has nothing of value anyway other than its heroin crop.

This should be our message to the Taliban when they all return from Pakistan: inherit the dust.

No drug money bonanza for you, Abu. Too bad, so sad.

David Blue on March 16, 2012 at 2:57 AM

If I were in charge, I would take the following actions

1. Begin an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan.

2. Tell Karazi that we don’t care who ends up running his pathetic, 7th Century mindset of a country. They can have at it the second after we are gone.

3. But, if Afghanistan EVER

georgej on March 16, 2012 at 5:38 AM

If I were in charge, I would take the following actions

1. Begin an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan.

2. Tell Karzai that we don’t care who ends up running his pathetic, 7th Century mindset of a country. They can have at it the second after we are gone.

3. But, if Afghanistan EVER becomes a threat to the USA, or if Al Qaeda returns to Afghanistan in any form whatsoever, we won’t bother to invade again or waste any more American lives in “nation building.”

4. We’ll use every weapon in our arsenal and reduce Afghanistan to uninhabited rubble – which is what we threatened Pakistan with shortly after 9/11 to get their cooperation.

We all know that Obama will never do this. He’ll allow more of our people be killed in order to protect his optics. And let’s face it, he hates the military, and could care less about them.

georgej on March 16, 2012 at 5:46 AM

oops, must have hit the wrong button while composing my post.

Sorry.

georgej on March 16, 2012 at 5:47 AM

The Taliban explains their reason for ending the talks;

The Afghan Taliban announced its suspending talks with American officials in Qatar, claiming that these officials demonstrated an unwillingness to cooperate and carry out agreed upon deals. In a statement posted on its website in English and other languages on March 15, 2012, the group explained that it sought to open its political office in Qatar with the intention of “reaching an understanding with the international community” and addressing issues with the Americans, with one of its demands being the release of prisoners. However, the Americans “turned their backs on their promises and started initiating baseless propaganda portraying the envoys of the Islamic Emirate [Afghan Taliban] as having commenced multilateral negotiations for solving the Afghan dilemma.” The Afghan Taliban stated that all talks with the Americans are suspended until they are willing to carry out their promises, and reiterated its demand that foreign forces immediately leave Afghanistan.

SoonerMarine on March 16, 2012 at 8:00 AM

And a long-term democracy in Afghanistan…pfftt

Maulana Fazlullah, the leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) Malakand division, lectured on Pakistan’s need for Shariah-based governance and urged Pakistani Muslims to support the fighters in a video produced by Umar Studio, a media unit of TTP. The 22 minute, 50 second Pashto-language, Urdu-subtitled video was posted on jihadist forums on February 19, 2012. The production date is given as November 2011. Fazlullah argued that peace and protection of Muslims’ lives, properties, and honor is only possible through Shariah, and anything other than Shariah as a system of governance causes “anarchy” and “brutality.” He added: “Now we must understand what hampers the enforcement of Shariah. First of all, it is democracy. Democracy is a Western concept. Wherever there is democracy, Shariah cannot be enforced. Democracy is based on infidels’ system. This is the biggest sin.”

TTP, Fazlullah explained, carries out violent jihad in order to enforce and implement Shariah in Pakistan. Taking Afghanistan as an example, he stated that during Taliban rule in the country, Afghans enjoyed peace and security, but after the US-led invasion, murder and theft became rampant and peace is a “far cry.” Also, Fazlullah claimed that God supports the fighters and their mission and that this support was demonstrated in the flooding in Swat, where TTP’s targets were destroyed. He said: “Allah also proved us right by destroying number of targets marked by the Taliban. It would have require us tons of explosives to destroy these targets, but Allah did this on our behalf. Allah always blesses those who have faith in Him.

SoonerMarine on March 16, 2012 at 8:11 AM

Hey Hamid, If it were up to me, we would blow your scummy popsicle stand tomorrow. Then, six weeks from now when it’s you hanging from the lamppost, we could shrug and say, “It wasn’t going anywhere anyhow.”

We’ve been protecting your sorry a@@ for quite a while now and we should stop.

Mr. Grump on March 16, 2012 at 8:49 AM

1st step, pull all US Troops that serve as Karzai’s body guards.

el Vaquero on March 16, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Yeah, the important point is that Karzai felt free to suspend the talks. We’re not taken seriously in Afghanistan now. Pray for the troops.

J.E. Dyer on March 16, 2012 at 3:19 PM