Or rather, if Obama’s serious about detente, why doesn’t he demand that they do so as one of those “constructive beginnings” with Islamist fascists that he’s been pursuing? I’ve been thinking about that since reading the Times’s profile of Mullah Omar this morning and haven’t come up with a good answer yet. Quote:
Richard Barrett, a former British intelligence officer now monitoring Al Qaeda and the Taliban for the United Nations, argues that Mullah Omar has learned the lesson of 2001. If the Taliban regain power, he said, “they don’t want Al Qaeda hanging around.”
He added, “They want to be able to say, ‘We are a responsible government.’ ”
Indeed, in his Sept. 19 statement, Mullah Omar made such an assertion: “We assure all countries that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as a responsible force, will not extend its hand to cause jeopardy to others.”
Mr. Riedel, who helped devise the Afghanistan strategy now being rethought, scoffs at such pronouncements as “clever propaganda.”
The thrust of the recent Taliban nonsense about being good boys in Afghanistan if we leave is that they won’t tolerate Al Qaeda in their midst anymore. That’s pure nonsense to a 99.99 percent certainty — read (or re-read) Roggio to see why — but if Obama’s tempted by that last one one-hundredth of a percent, here’s the way he can make them prove it. Ask them to tell us where Osama, Zawahiri, Abu Yahya al-Libi, and the rest of the gang are hiding; if Omar and the Quetta Shura don’t have that information instantly available, they should be able to get it pretty quickly. Then they pass it to the Pakistanis and the Pakistanis pass it to us and the rest is left to the generals and drone operators. Not only would The One get a tremendous political boost, he could sell the success as proof that Biden’s light-footprint counterterror strategy is the way to go. After all, if we’re capable of liquidating most of the AQ leadership before deploying those extra troops McChrystal wants, why send them? And if the Taliban refuses his demand, whether for reasons of jihadist loyalty or Pashtun hospitality, then there’s your proof that they can never, ever be trusted not to host AQ if we leave them alone in Afghanistan. What am I missing here?