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NEGOTIATING WITH THE TALIBAN: A SMART MOVE WITH THE RIGHT CARROTS AND STICKS

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The United States of America does not negotiate with terrorists (individuals or states); at least not the kind that plot and carry out terrorist attacks in U.S. cities or that holds hostages and makes unacceptable demands. It does negotiate with its enemies on the battlefield; and President Hamid Karzai’s announcement Saturday that Afghanistan and the United States are engaged in peace talks with the Taliban is a smart move with the right carrots and sticks.  (More)

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9 Responses

  1. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: The Intelligence Community (IC)

    Read your rambling piece and was surprised you compared the VC’s brief attachment to Communism with Afghanistan’s 12 hundred year acceptance of Islam. Perhaps if there was another lucrative pipe line deal for the US to offer the Taliban again, then everyone could pull their people out.
    It’s a pity that the US doesn’t teach world history in its schools, then some people could see how it tends to repeat itself. http://www.afghan-web.com/history/chron/index2.html

    Posted by David Shenton

  2. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: The Intelligence Community (IC)

    The Soviets were defeated, and now we are just only one level above them! I.e.: “Negotiation.” I can’t believe that policymakers in Washington and intelligence analyst in the CIA and DIA underestimated the capabilities of the Taliban, thinking that “we can just go in there and have what we want.” Maybe they used too much mirror imaging, who knows? The Soviets fought on two fronts in the 1980’s, us and the Taliban, and that’s why they were defeated. Okay, we have greatly helped the mujahedin rebels, but they turned around and used the weapons and the tactical training we provided them with against us in this war. After spending hundreds of billions of dollars and losing thousands of American lives, we still cannot claim “we won.” It’s a bad deal, no matter how it’s put. Negotiation is a sign of weakness, and the Taliban knows we’re running out of money and resources to fight this war. They were counting in this and we were counting on our military might. About seven years ago I made predictions on the war in Afghanistan. Doesn’t want to comment on that, but I will say that, when the last U.S. troops exit Afghanistan, the Taliban will make its final move Kabul. Unfortunately, democratization process failed because the Afghan people are not ready and not interested in our “democratization” business. Karzai’s days in office are numbered. I judge that the Turkmenistan pipeline deal negotiation had a lot to do with the failures. Whoever negotiated that deal made some serious mistakes. Counterinsurgency doctrines won’t work in Afghanistan any longer. Game over. It is possible that the Chinese may negotiate a better deal with the Taliban in the next year or so what we offer them, and we need to keep that in perspective. After all, they are neighbors. The Chinese may also get to harvest the $2 trillion Afghan natural resources lying in the ground than we will. It’s time to move on and to focus on more important things for now like revitalizing the economy, innovation and put people back to work.

    Posted by Attila Veres

  3. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: The Intelligence Community (IC)

    Ed, I would say your article contained a good deal of wisdom in it, but I would quarrel with your treatment of the”Taliban” as a monolithic entity. As near as I can tell the U.S. appears mistakenly to lump most of the Pashtun speaking tribes along the Pakistan Border as “Taliban” as if they were under a single authority. Yet the reality may well be that most of border tribes are pretty independent and do what they please. Indeed that is why the British created the semi-autonomous tribal areas along the Pakistani-Afghan frontier. This also why your suggestion for a “measure of autonomy for tribal regions” makes a good deal of sense.

    Posted by Richard Wright

  4. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Center for a New American Security

    The Taliban are not terrorists. They do not commit attacks to inspire political change, and they never posed a threat to the United States in the first place. We are at war with them, but they pose no threat other than being in the way of our efforts to kill and capture al-Qai’da and threats to creating a stable country with a democratic government. We should have been in peace talks with the Taliban five years ago.

    Posted by Jared Stancombe

  5. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Department of Defense

    Western secular pragmatist will never understand the agenda, strategy nor tactics of the religious radical Islamist. Their hatred of the west and anything connected to the USA or Israel is thier primary motivation. They hate us more than they love thier own lives and any concession they make is only temporary to give them time to rebuild to achive thier goal which is worldwide domination of thier branch of Islam over everone. Until our leadership grasps and understands that truth, we will never deal with them correctly.

    Posted by Wesley Mason

  6. From LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    I wish I could believe that a negotiated settlement with a group with a religious ideology of conquest and intolerance could possible be effective. Look at Israel’s experience with the PLO and Hamas as an example, or nation states like Iran or even Pakistan. Other than a long term and substantial military presence, which I certainly don’t want, I don’t see a good end game.

    Posted by Bob Brooks

  7. Bob Hoelle says:

    Ed,
    Our war is with al-Qai’da. It seems that our efforts in Afghganistan were effective in the beginning when there was some mass to the al-Qui’da’ but they soon scattered. They now have a presence on all continents, including ours. I have read where they have a very strong presence in Indoneisa. Eliminiation or negotiation with the al-Qai’da is not going to work. There is nothing we could ever do to ever appease them. Since there is no end game with them, the Special Op approach is probably our best option. David Hackworth had great sucess as a Bn commander with the 4th/39th 9th Inf Div in the Mekong Delta against the Vietcong when he realized he had to learn the way of the enemy and give in to traditional American warfare. He trained his troops to Out Guerrilla the Guerrilla. We must take on the same approach with the al-Qui’da. It sounds crude and simple, but I think perhaps relentless terrorization of their leadership is our best option. Their leaders should be put in a position where they are never safe, no matter where they dwell.

    The Taliban are of a religious tradition that we can’t seem to understand or get our hands around. Promoting a peaceful environment and rule within their region can best be obtained by suggestion over force. They should always be aware of the consciquences when their traditions or actions becomes a threat to the United States. I’m not sure what the “Carrot” would be to entice a peaceful accord with the Taliban, but I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to exploring the posibilities of one or more. Ed, just in our lifetimes, how many times have we failed trying to tell other populations, sometimes by force, what would be good for them?

    For the most part, we are finally out of Iraq, and now perhaps we need to get out of Afghanistan. Our presence there has taxed our economy and made us a very war weary nation. We have met most of our objectives, and I am not so sure that we shouldn’t claim victory and come home now. Many of our troops have served multiple tours in Afghanistan, and done so without complaint. I think we have asked enough of them.

    Our great nation is somewhat slow about learning from history. One thing that 9/11 did teach us is not to take our national security for granted. Terrorists now enjoy disrupting our economy, our travel, and our confidence without firing a shot, but we have become stronger because of it. There should never be limitations when it comes to protecting ourselves, especially on our own soil. That money will always be well spent.

  8. LinkedIn says:

    Reposted from LinkedIn Group: Naval Postgraduate School Alumni

    I agree with Bob. The US may be the one being lured with the carrot and stick.

    Posted by Nicolas Ojeda

  9. Bill Jordan says:

    The Taliban certainly aren’t behaving like they want us
    to leave–the recent Chinook shootdown, the stepped up IED attacks and other actions suggest two things: either they want to mark our exit as a defeat for the ten year effort and thousands of U.S. and Coalition deaths, or they want to keep U.S. forces present and engaged there, fullfilling Bin Laden’s desire to draw the U.S. into a Western-Islamic global conflict.

    One thing should definitely be negotiated–the release of the single U.S. soldier still held–and apparently still safe and alive–by the Taliban. This is the first conflict in modern history where withdrawal of U.S. forces or conflict termination–whether highly successful, such as Desert Storm, or less than optimal (Korea and Vietnam) apparently doesn’t include the safe repatriation of U.S. Pow’s.

    If the current administration is buoyed by the success of the Osama Bin Laden raid and the efficacy of today’s Special Operations Forces, they should nonetheless review a historical fact–not a single American serviceman in captivity has been rescued by military action since WWII.

    Despite the successful rescue of a U.S. civilian in Operation Just Cause (prisoner in a fixed, known location) and the shootdown of the helicopter and injury to several of the Delta operators, history has proven negotiation much more effective than military action.The much ballyhooed rescue of Jessica Lynch by SOF in Iraq 2 has already been relegated to the pages of snopes.com as another Public Affairs idea gone bad, probably by the same authors of the Pat Tillman story.

    It would be a simple matter for U.S. policymakers to say to all the actors in the Afghanistan drama (the Karzai Administration, the Taliban, Pakistan, especially the ISI) “we’ll consider negotiations for a phased troop withdrawal and the possibility of the Taliban’s inclusion in the legitimate government of Afghanistan when all our soldiers are returned to U.S. control.”

    It would be even simpler for that most august body of inactivity, the U.S. Congress, to enact legislation to that effect–a quasi-Cooper-Church Amendment of 2011 instead of 1973–the Congressional brush slapping at the departing Presidential train out of Indochina.

    Less the electorate and the lawmakers think that one or two missing individuals (one U.S. serviceman is still also unaccounted for in Iraq) are insignificant they’d do well to recall the 1996 attempts to recover the remains of LCDR (later Captain) Scott Speicher, the first loss of Desert Storm.

    This entailed entreaties to both the Iraq government, the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. When remains weren’t found in that initial operation, and subsequent reporting indicated his probably capture and failure to be repatriated in Operation Yellow Ribbon, the entire spectre of the U.S. abandoning POW’s was reopened.

    The Administration, especially the Congress, should do well to remember these lessons of history. One would hope they do; one would probably do well to not bet a significant amount on it.

    If they don’t, Sergeant Beau Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho and the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment may well be the last American soldier in Afghanistan.

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