U.S., Afghanistan to relaunch peace talks with Taliban for some reason

posted at 11:51 am on June 18, 2013 by Allahpundit

They’ve been trying to get the Taliban to the table, via Qatar, for at least three years. The question all along was simple: What’s our leverage? Why would jihadis who’ve been fighting to retake the country for more than a decade agree to make concessions now when they’re 18 months away from an American drawdown? In particular, why would they agree to peace talks at a moment when the U.S. is formally handing over security responsibilities to the Afghan army, which is going about as well as you’d expect?

Unless this is purely a face-saving gesture by the U.S., I don’t know.

The new dialogue, with a Taliban delegation that U.S. officials said has been authorized by Taliban leader Mohammed Omar, will begin Thursday in Doha, the Qatari capital. The United States will be represented by senior State Department and White House officials…

“Later today in Doha,” a senior official said, “the Taliban will release a statement saying two things: they will oppose the use of Afghan soil to threaten other countries . . . and they will support the Afghan peace process.”…

Officials said they expected that initial conversations would be limited to outlining the agendas on both sides, which remain far apart. For the United States, the ultimate goal is for the Taliban to break all ties with al-Qaeda, end violence in Afghanistan, recognize the Afghan constitution—including rights for minorities and women—and participate in the democratic process there.

The Taliban have demanded the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan—including a residual force the United States and NATO plan to leave there after the 2014 combat withdrawal—and the release of all Taliban detainees. Those detainees include about 60 prisoners the United States still holds in Afghanistan, and five militants being held at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The United States has turned the bulk of its battlefield prisoners in Afghanistan over to the Afghan government.

Mullah Omar authorized the talks? The same Mullah Omar whom even the Taliban rank-and-file hasn’t heard from in years and years? Note too that the preconditions for meeting don’t require the Taliban to expel Al Qaeda from the territory they hold. All they need to do is oppose AQ using Afghanistan as a base to launch attacks on foreign countries.

Kerry’s been working on putting this together behind the scenes for months. The last time talks were held, in 2012, the two sides got close to a “confidence-building” prisoner exchange between a handful of Taliban who are being held at Gitmo and American soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who’s been held by the Taliban for four years. Per Josh Rogin, that’s likely how these negotiations will begin too. (“U.S. officials said today the Bergdahl trade was back on the table.”) One very curious element to all this: It was just three weeks ago that the U.S. killed the Taliban’s number two in Pakistan, Wali ur-Rehman. Rehman had a reputation for being more open to diplomacy than most Taliban leaders, which makes it exceedingly strange that the U.S. would take a shot at him while they were trying to make talks happen. Even stranger is the fact that the Pakistani Taliban responded to his death by withdrawing their offer for negotiations — and yet here they are, less than a month later, announcing that they’re headed to the table. Something strange is happening behind the scenes.

The White House can’t possibly believe that the Taliban wlll honor a peace deal once American troops are gone. The idea here, I take it, is to create some sort of fig leaf so that next year’s drawdown looks kinda sorta like it’s being done on “victorious” terms. The Taliban’s formally agreed to play nice and not let Al Qaeda run wild anymore, ergo we “win” and can leave with honor. As for why the Taliban would agree to that, maybe they’ve finally grasped that this really is all about giving the U.S. a fig leaf and they’ve decided that it’s in their interest to do that. If things quiet down for the next 18 months, they can regroup for the big post-withdrawal push to retake Kabul while not having to worry about other commanders meeting Rehman’s fate in the meantime. This is, in a way, the flip side of the coin to the already failed “peace talks” that were supposed to calm things down in Syria. Those talks are dead on arrival because Assad’s winning on the ground now and has zero incentive to make concessions. The Taliban’s not “winning” on the ground in Afghanistan, but they will be eventually and they already know that their chief obstacle to that will be removed soon enough. The White House has an odd knack for holding negotiations in which its leverage is minimal. Makes you optimistic about the fate of the neverending Iran nuclear talks.


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Women to be raped and stoned in stadiums, soon after.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM

The only ones who’ve succeeded, apace, under Obama are his muzzie brothers.

Name one nation, I triple dare you, which is free/freer, due to Obama.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Who would ever have thought that talks with The Taliban would be considered a distraction?

That’s how serious Obama’s troubles are now.

portlandon on June 18, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Putin showed Obama a big finger, just because he can.

Imagine the punk treating Ronald Reagan like this.

The US has lost the last shred of moral authority and decency in the world, under Obama.

Said cheering world deserves Obama in full.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Obama… The new Gaius Baltar…

Skywise on June 18, 2013 at 11:58 AM

What color is the white flag?

Don L on June 18, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Pull the troops now. We were idiots to shed blood for these people. Tell the Afghani people that as long as they just kill themselves…it’s cool. If they start sponsoring terrorism again…we’ll be back to level their country once and for all…no discussion, just explosions.

ScottiesRule on June 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

He has a BIG agenda…peace talks with savages.

When he lands in Africa I hope AF1 just takes off without him.

NJ Red on June 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

U.S., Afghanistan to relaunch peace talks with Taliban for some reason

I can’t imagine any reason why the U.S. would even bother offering to negotiate with the Taliban. Nothing has changed on the ground since we went into Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. The Taliban still shelter al Quaeda now like they did then.

Kerry’s been working on putting this together behind the scenes for months.

Mystery solved.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

White reset button with the Taliban…what a shameful place in the world the US under Obama is in!

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Something strange is happening behind the scenes.

Obama is the gift that keeps on giving…to his muzzie brothers.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 12:10 PM

The Taliban is like the Nazis, except the Taliban is extremely weak.

Did we negotiate with the Nazis? No, we bombed and kill the hell out of them.

You don’t negotiate with savages, you kill them.

NoDonkey on June 18, 2013 at 12:10 PM

all about the O, nothing else…

all hail dear leader…he’s so frickin awesome
-lsm

cmsinaz on June 18, 2013 at 12:11 PM

So… how much are we paying them?

n0doz on June 18, 2013 at 12:12 PM

One should never assume that Obama has the US’s best interests at heart.

Wake up America!

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 12:12 PM

You know what. I kinda wish Susan Rice was Secretary of State. There is no way she would be the disaster that is John F’ing Kerry is.

I know, I know Benghazi. But look at the damage Kerry is doing. This, Israel/Palestinians, Russia, Syria, Iran, etc. are far worse.

Lance Murdock on June 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Yep, once we pay our “victor’s ransom”, we’re free to go with honor and a parade.

abobo on June 18, 2013 at 12:17 PM

So this is a “promise to be good” agreement.

Call it ‘The Religion of Peace in Our Time’ Agreement.

ROCnPhilly on June 18, 2013 at 12:23 PM

At least we can look forward to yet another black eye for Kerry.

Bmore on June 18, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Obama, the fking traitor, offering treasure and materiel to his allies the Taliban.

Transparency.

tom daschle concerned on June 18, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Bmore, photoshop the 3 Dicks: Nixon, Obama and Cheney.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 12:26 PM

OT: Bill Ayers says Obama should be tried for war crimes

Alternate headline: Useful idiot discovers he’s a useful idiot

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/06/18/bill_ayers_obama_should_be_put_on_trial_for_war_crimes.html

The Rogue Tomato on June 18, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Bmore, photoshop 3 you know whats, Nixon, Obama and Cheney.

The mill ate my other comment.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Obozo is one of them, and negotiates like them. Negotiations are just a ploy to buy time, not an honest effort to reach a lasting agreement. He just wants to make sure nothing goes wrong while the family spends a half billion dollars on vacation.

Flange on June 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Next on the agenda, diet talks with Oprah.

hillsoftx on June 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM

“Later today in Doha,” a senior official said, “the Taliban will release a statement saying two things: they will oppose the use of Afghan soil to threaten other countries . . . and they will support the Afghan peace process… oh yeah, and leave enough Marines behind to guard the poppy crop. They’re doing a great job.”

Akzed on June 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Obozo is one of them, and negotiates like them. Negotiations are just a ploy to buy time, not an honest effort to reach a lasting agreement. He just wants to make sure nothing goes wrong while the family spends a half billion dollars on vacation.

Flange on June 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Maybe, like so many great managers, he’s making sure that if anything bad happens, it does so while he is on vacation? Preferably while he’s in an alcohol-induced stupor. Then someone else gets the blowback for the stand down order.

ROCnPhilly on June 18, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Kerry’s been working on putting this together behind the scenes for months.

Mystery solved.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

..and one wonders if J”F”K’s been spending time on the Steppes of Asia looking for the burial site of his beloved Jenjhis Khan?

The War Planner on June 18, 2013 at 12:38 PM

So the military mission becomes not to be the last one killed in Afgan.Bunker down time.

docflash on June 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM

The only ones who’ve succeeded, apace, under Obama are his muzzie brothers.

Name one nation, I triple dare you, which is free/freer, due to Obama.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM

I’d throw in the dog, but a certain somebody ate it.

Steve Eggleston on June 18, 2013 at 12:42 PM

“the Taliban will release a statement saying two things: they will oppose the use of Afghan soil to threaten other countries . . . and they will support the Afghan peace process… oh yeah, and leave enough Marines behind to guard the poppy crop. They’re doing a great job.”

Akzed on June 18, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Hey remember who said this about OBL and why the Taliban supported him?

“why is this man so popular around the world? Why are people so supportive of him in many countries that are riddled with poverty?

“He’s been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful, “

Senator Patty Murray to HS students in 2002. Taliban day care? Sounds like the premise for a really bad summer movie.

Seriously, we have done nothing but try to prime the pump for something other than the 6th century for over a decade. Since we have a rat-eared tyrant that has no particular interest in the region other than appeasing those with the faith of his people, it is time to cut our losses and leave. Let the animals kill each other as they have been doing for centuries.

Happy Nomad on June 18, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Name one nation, I triple dare you, which is free/freer, due to Obama.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM

The Maldives managed to get out from under the brutal control of Argentina and make its way from the South Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. :-0

Happy Nomad on June 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Drudge has a nice big picture of Danny Pearl with a gun held to his head in reference to this.

Blake on June 18, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Nixon negotiated with North Vietnam………

…..so what?

How long must Americans die in Afcrapistan? Besides Obama needs to move them over to Syria so they can be sacrificed by the thousands in that new hellhole.

Viva the Caliphate!!!

PappyD61 on June 18, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Drudge has a nice big picture of Danny Pearl with a gun held to his head in reference to this.

Blake on June 18, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Drudge does way more good for the US and the world than Obama can ever dream of…but that’s a wrong premise.

Obama only does good for his muzie brothers and himself. Period.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 1:25 PM

I think this is all to make 0booba look good in 2014 and, by extension, Dems trying to unseat or defend their seats in the mid-terms. Nothing worse for Dem mid-term elections than Afghanistan spiraling ever faster and more violently out of control.

Smartest guy in the room, and all….
s/

freedomfirst on June 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Happy Nomad on June 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM

:)

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Happy Nomad on June 18, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Funny how NO one can answer my challenge.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Funny how NO one can answer my challenge.

Schadenfreude on June 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

I’ll try….the Soviets Russians. Now, 0booba is in charge of the most pathetic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

freedomfirst on June 18, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Replace “in charge” with “responsible for”.

freedomfirst on June 18, 2013 at 1:34 PM

All they need to do is oppose AQ using Afghanistan as a base to launch attacks on foreign countries.

I can see it now. “Taliban announces opposition to AQ doing bad things — strong memo to follow!”

IndieDogg on June 18, 2013 at 1:43 PM

So… how much are we paying them?

n0doz on June 18, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Not only is the regime going to the taliban hat in hand to try to find a way out….

…but the US is paying the rent on the offices in Qatar that the taliban will be using.

The d’ohbama regime shames us all.

Solaratov on June 18, 2013 at 1:44 PM

These savages have been killing our brave men and women over there for years and Obama wants to negotiate now with them..I guess According to Biden they aren’t the enemy..I detest Obama and everyone in his administration and I’m sure 95 % of the troops do as well

sadsushi on June 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM

And it’s one, two, three, what are we fighting for
Don’t ask cause I don’t give a damn…

claudius on June 18, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Leave a residual force behind ? To do what, get killed ? When you leave a war zone, you leave. You don’t leave anyone behind, or replace your forces with a small residual.

Negotiation should always be done from a position of strength, not weakness. So what strong position are we negotiating from ? None !!!

Peace ? By what/whose definition ? Ours or the goat lovers ?
Yeah, Ok, we leave. Soon the residual is slaughtered, then what ?
Not really sure how that would be covered up !

Always remember;
Like the Taliban leader has said; ” You may have the watches, but we have the time.”

BillyPenn on June 18, 2013 at 4:55 PM

Obama… The new Gaius Baltar…

Skywise on June 18, 2013 at 11:58 AM

That’s an insult to Gaius Baltar, and I will not stand for it.

Cylor on June 19, 2013 at 12:22 AM