The Taliban are in a Bind, but are they Willing to Make a Deal

President Ghani has pushed again to get the Taliban to rejoin Afghan society by entering into the Peace and Reconciliation Process that Afghans agreed to in 2010, with the support of the international community.

The Taliban, as they have been since 2009 when they heard of the initial offers, are divided on the idea.

As this article highlights, the Taliban are in a bind. On one hand, if they talk to the Afghan government they lose legitimacy and might lose fighters by the truckload to reintegration programs as the weakness of the Taliban’s claims to ultimately win this struggle are exposed. Alternatively if the Taliban leadership reject talks the government and its partners will have no choice but to ramp up devastating attacks on the Taliban foot soldiers and leadership. This may also cause more defections from the Taliban as their militiamen face a force that is growing in efficiency daily.

Either way the Taliban’s momentum is going to continue to decrease.

One thing is for sure, and remains unchanged since the 1990s…Pakistan is not really interested in how many Taliban die in the Pakistan effort to put a Pakistan friendly regime in Kabul.

One day the Taliban will learn how to extract themselves and their families from the clutches of Pakistani officers that could care less about their well being. The Taliban will have to come to terms with peace and go home to a different life.

“But not everyone in the Taliban leadership shares that view [that talks with President Ghani should be avoided].

“Some think they should talk, some think they shouldn’t talk to the Afghans, and there are some who think they shouldn’t talk at all,” a Western official in contact with the Taliban told AFP.

A former Taliban commander in the southern province of Kandahar said some fighters were “really tired” but could not surrender because their families were in Pakistan.

“They will do whatever Pakistan tells them to do because of their families,” he said.

Pakistan has long been accused of supporting the Taliban and providing safe haven to its leaders — charges Islamabad denies.”

Full story

As I witnessed in Colombia, the longer the Taliban wait, the less likely they will recognize home, and the harder it will be to adjust. And more importantly the longer they wait, the less likely the Afghan people will care about helping them restart a new life…the old fighters will really struggle.


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