General Question

xrawrrr's avatar

Why is the Afghan government currently holding peace talks with the Taliban?

Asked by xrawrrr (46points) April 25th, 2011

What problems will having these peace talks solve?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

22 Answers

tedd's avatar

The hope is to bring them to the table and get them to abandon their Al Queda friends. Obviously it looks stupid from our point of view, but they’ve been fighting a war they can’t seem to win for the last 10 years, and if they can at least get Al-Queda out of the picture and get the Taliban to be involved but not in control of the government… they’ll take it.

(now ask me if I think its a good idea or it will work)

Qingu's avatar

What exactly is the alternative to peace talks? The Taliban is an indigenous movement. They are not a nation-state that can “surrender” like Germany or Japan did in WW2. It is not feasible to hunt down and kill or capture every member of the Taliban.

Plus, to the extent that there is a command structure in the Taliban, it is largely the tool of the Pakistani ISI, a country who we’re not about to start a war with, and whose presence in Afghanistan speaks to the complexity of this conflict.

weeveeship's avatar

A bunch of Taliban fighters busted out of jail last night…


Lightlyseared's avatar

Maybe it will stop the Taliban leaving IED’s all over the place.

seazen_'s avatar

Same as Israel negotioating with Hammas/Hizballah.

You are either pro or against the concept.

Qingu's avatar

@seazen_ another example would be British negotiating with the IRA.

seazen_'s avatar

Sort of. The IRA were actually linked to the PLO back in the day before the peace agreements in 94 between arafat and rabin.

Hammas were elected “democratically” and rule a self-governed area, now isolated pretty much, between Egypt and Israel.

It’s not the sae, politically, as the IRA. I would think it more like an extreme version of Iran or Lebanon, ruled by Hizballah.

In other words, elected democratically, but extreme and anti-western.

Iran supllies Hammas and Hizballah.

Who supplied the IRA? And the IRA weren’t elected and didn’t rule. Different.

Qingu's avatar

The Taliban weren’t elected either. And like the IRA they reflect the ideology of a large contingent of the people who actually live in the area.

My general point was that there is precedent for negotiating with terrorists/freedom fighters/guerrilla fighters.

seazen_'s avatar

True. But of course it’s more complicated and very regional – bordering on religious/philosophical and ethical rules of war.

I for one think Israel should negotioate with Hammas – even if their Palestian partners do not – especially as they hold Gilad Shalit.

Why? Less killing is done when there are talks – and who knows – no-one ever brokered a peace agreement without talks.

It won’t weaken Israel’s image to talk with them – it will show the world who they really are. Maybe Ismail Haniya is ready for talks – but – he has said that he will never have peace with Israel – regardless of the geography and leadership. He wants to get his 72 virgins – and hopes to die trying to secure the whole of Israel in the process.

But I digress.

basstrom188's avatar

Who supplied the IRA

NORAID and the Libyans

mattbrowne's avatar

There is the hope that not all Taliban are terrorists. But their ideology certainly is a very fertile breeding ground for it. Should we negotiate with terrorists? My answer is: no.

Qingu's avatar

What exactly is a “terrorist” (as opposed to a guerrilla fighter or a criminal), and what should we do with them instead?

seazen_'s avatar

@mattbrowne and @Qingu That is the million dollar question. Who is a terrorist.

If you trust your government, and or the United Nations, there are lists that go by certain parameters. I don’t expect to agree with you on any of them – for me Hammas and Hizbollah as well as Taliban are, for now, terrorists, period.

Meetings are always held through third parties – like Germany – in the case of Hammas.

mattbrowne's avatar

I think this definition is pretty good:

“Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear and terror, are perpetrated for a religious, political or ideological goal, deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians), and are committed by non-government agencies.”

Guerrilla fighters target opposing combatants, e.g. FARC in Columbia. They fight Columbian military and police forces.

Guerrilla fighters can either be criminals or freedom fighters, depending on whether their opponents are mandated by a democratically elected parliament and government (upholding democratic principles) or not. So this makes FARC criminals, while the German Resistance movement led by Claus von Stauffenberg in 1944 were freedom fighters. Hitler’s “democracy” ended in late 1933.

It becomes more complicated when a democratically elected parliament and government creates laws and condones actions that violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and also deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. A good example is Hamas. They clearly are terrorists.

Qingu's avatar

What if “terrorist” leaders instruct their followers to stop targeting civilians? I am thinking of Muhammad Baradar, once the Taliban #2 before the ISI arrested him, instructing Taliban fighters to try to preserve civilian lives.

They’ve certainly done an exceptionally shitty job of it, but then the US did an even worse job in Iraq and I wouldn’t call us “terrorists.”

Hamas and Hezbollah also often seem to skirt this line, or rather jump from side to side of it as the situation dictates.

seazen_'s avatar

Hammas fires from behind babies and women – and say as much – they are also part of the plan to go to heaven and get 72 virgins. Children are encouraged to be jihadists and shahids.

Hizbollah and Hammas fire rockets which cannot be aimed – how would you say they straddle the line?

Every stupid pipe katyusha rocket can kill maim and frighten dozens of people – and now have been thrown into Israel about 10,000 times in the last few years.

What line?

Imagine if Israel returned fire with fire and sent rockets over indiscriminately.

You have always had a double standard – I see not much has changed.

But then you are a Jew hater of the worst kind – a born Jew who hates his people.

Qingu's avatar

Oh yes, us loathesome self-hating Jews.

Hamas often aims attacks at military targets. Suicide bombings commonly attack military targets.

It’s true that they fire rockets indiscriminately. I’m sure if they had guided missiles they would aim them at military targets. On the other hand, Israel has guided missiles and they still end up killing thousands of innocent civilians in disproportionate responses against Hamas aggression. Speaking of double standards.

mattbrowne's avatar

Let’s not forget that far more than half of these civilians elected Hamas. They are not that innocent. The 43% Germans who voted for Hitler in 1933 are not innocent. Der Kampf was published several years before that. 57% of the voters did not vote for Hitler despite the intense propaganda and the injustice of the Versaille treaty. Voting is a right and a responsibility. You need to know about the goals of the people you elect and face the consequences.

Hamas fighters also use civilians as human shields. They take delight when children are killed by Israeli fighters because it tremendously helps their cause.

Qingu's avatar

Just to be clear: I don’t think Hamas is morally equivalent with the IDF. They are largely demented psychopaths.

But it’s hard for me to ignore that the IDF has killed many, many more civilians than Hamas. Their methods aren’t as sick as Hamas, their ideology isn’t as warped, but the practical effects of their actions have been worse.

mattbrowne's avatar

The larger problem is that the current Israeli government has no long-term peace strategy. They are mostly hardliners, some like Avigdor Lieberman are outspoken racists. So when hardliners face largely demented psychopaths nothing good can come out if it.

What a shame that Barak and Arafat ended the Camp David 2000 Summit without reaching an agreement being reached. They were so close…

Qingu's avatar

You don’t have to go back to 2000. They were making progress until Netanyahu unilaterally decided to restart the negotiations from scratch when he got into office.

basstrom188's avatar

Where would Israel be without the huge US subsidies it receives every year?

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