Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Taliban gets an address--and recognition too

It is not surprising to know that the U.S. and Pakistan have been in talks with the Taliban of their respective choices.  But it surely is demoralizing for those who want to see extremism defeated in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 
The Afghan Taliban have agreed to open a political office in Doha, Qatar, to kick-start negotiations with the U.S., which wants to pull its troops out of Afghanistan by 2014--come rain or shine. Pakistan is talking to another kind of the Taliban that have 'gone astray' after they were unleashed to find a strategic depth for it in Afghanistan.
The U.S. wants to disengage the Taliban from Pakistan's influence which could make them agree to share power with President Hamid Karzai. Initially, Karzai had been kept out of the loop which prompted him to call back Afghanistan's ambassador from Doha in protest.
Both Pakistan and Karzai look askance at the U.S.'s single-handed overtures to the Taliban: Karzai, sensing betrayal, fears for his power--and his life too--in any new arrangement in Afghanistan. Pakistan does not want to sit on the fence while the fate of Afghanistan is being decided. This can bring Karzai closer to Pakistan and together they can spoil the game for the U.S.
Whether these talks succeed or fail, it has already emboldened extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have been accorded a recognition by giving the Taliban an address. It does not mean that one does not want a negotiated peace in Afghanistan. But, the U.S. seems to be negotiating only for its in-time withdrawal from Afghanistan.
It seems that the people of Afghanistan are in for another bout of retributive punishment when a victorious Taliban revisit their blighted country after another super power makes a shameful flight. Across the border, the elks of the Taliban will be readying to punish and discipline the people of Pakistan.
And then, people in the U.S. will ask once again: "Why do they hate us?" Better they this time ask this question from their government.

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