Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Karzai torpedoes Taliban-US talks for fear of being left out of the loop

Ego aside for a moment, the fact that we would even think to engage the Taliban and negotiate with them as though they are every bit honorable or responsible as any other nemesis we have sat down and hashed out problems with is ludicris at best and dangerous at worst.  Being that we always believe we can talk it out, it is no wonder the WH is dedicated to finding a way to get the Taliban to sit down and negotiate in good faith.  However it is a fools errand which will yield only heartbreak for us and victory for Islam.

From the Mail Online August 30 by Oliver Pickup

Secret U.S.-Taliban talks were closing on deal to free kidnapped army sergeant before being scuppered by Karzai aides

Secret talks between representatives of the United States and the Taliban were closing in on a deal to free a kidnapped army sergeant, but were scuppered when Hamid Karzai's aides leaked information about them.

Both U.S. and Afghan officials confirmed that the 54-year-old Afghan president kiboshed potential horse-trading with the Taliban, as he feared being out of the loop.

Though the discussions, held in Germany and Qatar, were only at a preliminary stage, a trade which would see Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, captured two years ago, was mooted.

In return, the talks centred on the release of a number of Afghan prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, as well as the Bagram airbase.

But before any deals could be firmed up, Mr Karzai's aided leaked knowledge of the talks to the press, and all hope of striking a clandestine agreement were gone.

The Afghan president felt as though he was being undercut, according to U.S. officials close to the deals.

According to an unnamed senior Western diplomat in the region a childhood friend of his, Tayyab Aga, was the Taliban negotiator.

Since the secret talks were discovered, Mr Aga has fled and gone in to hiding, for fear of his life, but to the chagrin of the negotiators who have been left to rue Mr Karzai's reported intervention.

The U.S. negotiators asked Mr Aga what could be done to gain Bergdahl's release. The discussion did not get into specifics but it is understood Mr Aga suggested - by way of a trade - the release of Afghan prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and at Bagram airbase.

Collapse of the direct talks between Mr Aga and U.S. officials probably spoiled the best chance yet at reaching Mullah Mohammed Omar, considered the linchpin to ending the Taliban fight against the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan.

Perhaps most importantly they offered the tantalising prospect of a brokered agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban - one that would allow the larger reconciliation of the Taliban into Afghanistan political life to move forward.

Legitimize that group who want sharia and pure Islam to reign supreme.  Good job!

The United States has not committed to any such deal, but the Taliban wants security assurances from Washington.

In a series of interviews with diplomats, current and former Taliban, Afghan government officials and a close childhood friend of Mr Aga, the information suggests that the man who was brokering the deals for the Taliban is now hiding in Europe, and is afraid to return to Pakistan fearing reprisals.

The United States, for example, has had no direct contact with him for months. A senior U.S. official acknowledged that the talks imploded because of the leak and that Mr Aga, while alive, had disappeared.

Officials had been hoping that the negotiations would lead them to the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar.

And once we found him, then what?  We sit for tea and discuss means of mutual cooperation while glad-handing and genuflecting to our soon to be overlords?

While the U.S. will continue to pursue talks, the trust of such meetings have been affected.

Read it all

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