October 4, 2015

WHICH IS WHY THEIR DEFEAT SHOULD BE CAST AS VICTORY:

Kunduz fighting: Could city's fall boost peace prospects? (Justin Rowlatt, 2 October 2015, BBC)

A few months ago the prospects for peace in Afghanistan looked better than they had in years.

In July members of the Taliban met representatives of the Afghan government for talks in the pretty hill town of Muree, just outside Islamabad in Pakistan.

It was hailed as a breakthrough, the first very tentative sign that the Taliban might consider some kind of negotiated peace.

Those talks were disrupted by news of the death of Taliban founder Mullah Omar.

But hopes were boosted just days ago when the new leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, hinted he might support talks under certain conditions [...]

Kunduz demonstrates that the Taliban remains a formidable fighting force.

What it doesn't show is that the Taliban has ruled out the idea of a negotiated settlement.

Many observers believe its leadership recognises that they are never going to take back control of Afghanistan, opening up the possibility of some kind of political compromise.
In which case Kunduz could be seen as part of a long-term bid by the Taliban to strengthen their hand in future negotiations.

Of course, Omar had been dead for years, so it was Mansour suing for peace in the first place.  That revelation is why he needed to try and show strength.  But the stark reality is that the Taliban isn't strong.

Posted by at October 4, 2015 8:29 AM
  

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