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NATO fostering contacts with Taliban, official says

A senior NATO official said Wednesday that the military alliance has fostered contacts between top Taliban leaders and the Afghan government in hopes of reaching a political settlement to the war.

"We have indeed facilitated to various degrees the contacts between the senior Taliban members and the highest levels of the Afghan government," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity to reporters in Brussels.

The official said NATO was granting safe passage to Taliban leaders so they could travel to Kabul to meet with members of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government.

"It would be extremely difficult for a senior Taliban member to get to Kabul without being killed or captured if ISAF were not witting, and ISAF is witting," the official said. ISAF is an acronym for International Security Assistance Force, a coalition of troops from NATO members and other allies in Afghanistan.

The contacts in Kabul are separate from other talks that have taken place outside Afghanistan between representatives of the Afghan government and the Quetta Shura, the Taliban faction led by Mullah Mohammed Omar, the official said.

The official described the Kabul talks as "preliminary discussions" and not formal negotiations.

By Craig Whitlock  | October 13, 2010; 1:49 PM ET
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So our feeble minded foreign policy of expanding our democracy and idealism to Afghanistan did not work.
We are now trying reconciliation as a method for safe exit and to save face; however, there is more to this reconciliation than simply allowing non-threatening elements of the Taliban regime to be reintroduced in main stream society and to take part in current and future Afghan governments.
The United States designated Pakistan as Afghanistan's proxy during late 70s and 80s to defeat the former Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan. In mid 90s the United States asked Pakistan to form a government for Afghanistan to disarm the majority of population in Afghanistan and bring the nation under control. The result was the formation of the notorious Taliban movement by Pakistan's ISI. Pakistan quickly capitalized on the opportunity to turn helpless and hopeless Afghanistan into a satellite state. Pakistan's objective was, is and will always be to use Afghanistan as a military training camp to settle its dispute with Indian over Jammu and Kashmir.
Turn the clock to 2011 or 2012. Once again, the United States is designating Pakistan as Afghanistan's proxy government. NATO is not holding dialogue with Taliban representative but with Pakistan's ISI members to reintroduce the so called "non-threatening" elements of Taliban to the Afghan society and ultimately to replace Karzai's corrupt institution. As long as the Pashtoon tribes within and outside Afghanistan play the naive game of trusting Pakistan as trusting neighbor, they will find safe haven in Pakistan. Hamed Karzai and the rest of the Karzai Mafia clan have nothing to worry about the reconciliation. Given the worst case scenario, they will be pardoned by Pakistan' ISA (the father of Taliban movement) and exiled to Dubai where they will enjoy lives of luxury afforded by billions of dollars stolen from Afghanistan.
May God have mercy on the rest of the Afghanistan the moment NATO and ISAF decide to abandon Afghanistan and delegate control and future of Afghanistan to Pakistan.
We did it at the end of 1989 when the Russian troops left and we will do it again when our troops come home.

Posted by: Roman-VA | October 13, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama administration has been pushing for negotiated settlement between Karzai government and Mullah Omar’s Quetta Shura safely ensconced in Baluchistan under the protection of Pakistani government.

As General McChrystal reported in his August, 2009 assessment to the President:
1. Most insurgent fighters in Afghanistan are directed by a small number of Afghan senior leaders based in Pakistan that work through an alternative political infrastructure in Afghanistan.
2. The Quetta Shura Taliban (QST) based in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan, is the No. 1 threat to US/NATO mission in Afghanistan. At the operational level, the Quetta Shura conducts a formal campaign review each winter, after which Mullah Mohammed Omar (Afghan Taliban Chief) announces his guidance and intent for the coming year.
3. Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups (QST, HQN and HiG) are based in Pakistan, are linked with al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's lSI. Al Qaeda and associated movements (AQAM) based in Pakistan channel foreign fighters, suicide bombers, and technical assistance into Afghanistan, and offer ideological motivation, training, and financial support.

So US under Bush as well as Obama had NO problem Pakistan covertly protecting Mullah Omar’s QST while overtly denying the existence of same QST - QST that has been plotting and killing US/NATO soldiers in Afghanistan all these years.

And then US is wondering why its Afghan mission failing and why there is Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan!

Even though US intentionally ignored it, Karzai told a news conference in Kabul on 7/29/2010 after WikiLeaks leaks, “The time has come for our international allies to know that the war against terrorism is not in Afghanistan’s homes and villages. But rather this war is in the sanctuaries, funding centers and training places of terrorism which are in Pakistan. Our international allies have the ability to destroy these Pakistani sanctuaries, but the question is why they are not doing it?“

Afghanistan’s national security advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta asked the similar question in Washington Post on 8/23/10: “While we are losing dozens of men and women to terrorist attacks every day, the terrorists’ main mentor (Pakistan) continues to receive billions of dollars in aid and assistance. How is this fundamental contradiction justified? Despite facing a growing domestic terror threat, Pakistan “continues to provide sanctuary and support to the Quetta Shura, the Haqqani network, the Hekmatyar group and Al Qaeda. Dismantling the terrorist infrastructure “requires confronting the state of Pakistan that still sees terrorism as a strategic asset and foreign policy tool”.

US is hell bent on sacrificing Afghanistan to mollycoddle Pakistan.

Posted by: martymartel3 | October 13, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I would say that talks are long overdue. After losing thousands of our military to a war that we were never going to win, and after causing horrible crippling injuries to thousands more of our young men and women,it is about time. Bring our troops home and get on with the talks We are in a losing battle--it is never going to be resolved with guns. "Extend the hand and not the fist!" What happened to that thought? Yes we can! We can bring our troops home and get out of this no win situation.

Posted by: dawsonrl | October 13, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

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