Green Room

Report: New Afghan peace plan would increase Pakistan’s role

posted at 2:00 pm on December 11, 2012 by

Meant to get to this yesterday but got sidetracked. Remember my exit question at the end of Sunday’s post about the drumbeat of drone strikes in Pakistan lately? Maybe this is the answer:

The Afghan government is pursuing an ambitious new peace initiative in which Pakistan would replace the United States in arranging direct talks between the warring sides and the Taliban would be granted government posts that effectively could cede to them political control of their southern and eastern strongholds.

If implemented, the plan would diminish the role of the United States in the peace process, but would still leave Washington with input on a number of critical issues, including the terms for initiating negotiations. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Great Britain also would be involved.

The plan envisions ending the war by 2015 through a ceasefire and negotiations in the second half of next year, most likely in Saudi Arabia. Pakistan would help select the leaders of the Taliban and other rebel groups who would take part in the negotiations with the Afghan government. The effort, the plan says, should be conducted “through one consistent and coherent channel,” a measure that would secure a role for Afghan President Hamid Karzai after the end of his term following April 2014 elections…

[T]he key role that the plan confers on Pakistan could inflame suspicion among many Afghans that Islamabad plans to exert influence in a post-war Afghanistan – especially to block a pro-India tilt – by placing former insurgents in cabinet posts, ministries, provincial governorships and positions like police chiefs and district administrators.

Was that the deal? In exchange for the U.S. agreeing to a larger role for Pakistan in Afghanistan, ISI would give up a bunch of Al Qaeda targets whom American intel was after? The White House’s chief concern as we draw down is maintaining some local reach on counterterrorism; a gesture by Pakistan to prove that they’re willing to help with that could lead to faster withdrawal.

Exit question: If that’s the case, how about giving up Zawahiri?

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So the government that created the Taliban, to take over Afghanistan, is going to have a large role in the Afghan government? Oh, like that’s going to end well. . .

rbj on December 11, 2012 at 2:29 PM