October 10, 2008

THE BEST INDICATOR THAT IT'S A SIGNIFICANT CONCESSION BY THE TALIBAN ...:

Taliban Ready For Talks (Stephen Brown, October 10, 2008, FrontPageMagazine.com)

It may be the tipping-point everyone has been waiting for in the Afghanistan conflict.

CNN reported last Monday that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted high-level talks for four days in late September between senior Taliban members and Afghan government officials during Ramadan. Described as “an icebreaker”, no al Qaeda representative however was present at the meeting, as Taliban leader Mullah Omar has reportedly broken with Osama bin Laden’s organization. Encouragingly, the CNN report states further discussions between the two sides are scheduled in two months. [...]

What probably stirred hardliner Taliban leaders to seek talks is the deteriorating situation in their strategic tribal agency base areas in Pakistan. Two months ago, the Pakistani army launched a major offensive with heavy artillery, tanks and fighter bombers against Taliban and al Qaeda assets there. Although well dug in, the jihadists have lost more than a thousand fighters and are hard-pressed.

But what is probably causing the Taliban even greater concern than the relentlessness of the offensive is that the tribes they once dominated are going over to the government. At the end of August, one formed a battle party that fought 900 Taliban, while another this week raised 20,000 fighters. Their support is regarded as crucial in the government’s ridding the tribal areas of the Taliban and al Qaeda for good.

Shutting down the jihadists’ Pakistani base areas would also see a virtual end to the insurgency in Afghanistan. And it is most likely due to this realization the Taliban is now willing to play the peace card in order to remain a factor in Afghanistan.


...is the CIA's judgment that the Taliban is winning.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 10, 2008 7:34 AM
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