Thursday, December 01, 2005

U.S. Reportedly Seeking Negotiations With Taliban and Al Qaeda

Reports are circulating in Pakistan that the United States, frustrated by an increasing casualty rate in Afghanistan, is attempting to negotiate a truce or cease-fire with the leadership of the former Taliban and with elements of Al Qaeda.

A typically (for the intelligence business) convoluted series of events involving a Pakistani politician and U.S. diplomats has revealed the outline of the plan.

The Pakistani politician, Javed Ibrahim Paracha, a leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PNL-N), claimed that he was asked by U.S. and Pakistani intelligence officers to meet with undersecretary of State Karen Hughes during her recent trip to the Muslim world. Paracha alleged that he had been referred to the spooks by former ISI chiefs Gen. Ehsanul Haq and Gen. Hamid Gul. He originally reported that the meeting took place Nov 14 at the Serena Hotel in Islamabad. He said that the topic of the meeting was to induce him to make contact with leadership elements of the Taliban and Al Qaeda to begin peace negotiations.

Shortly after his comments were reported in the Pakistani media, Paracha says he received a telephone call about the matter from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad. Paracha has since changed his story. He claims now that he never met with Ms. Hughes, but rather with "U.S. businessmen" to discuss ways to safely get American troops out of Afghanistan.

The U.S. embassy expressly denies that Paracha met Karen Hughes during her visit. A spokesman for the Taliban also denies their involvement and says that only a full withdrawal of foreign troops in Afghanistan would be acceptable.

Paracha's claims could be dismissed by some as the paradise intoxicated ravings of a freedom-hating Muslim if not for the fact that Paracha is known to have good contacts with high-level Talibans and Al Qaeda. In late 2001, Paracha successfully negotiated the release of a large number of Arab captives charged with terrorism in Pakistan. That's the type of thing that contributes to the bona-fides of an "international type."

The question here is why, if this interpretation of events is correct, would the United States want to abandon the battle against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan? This isn't a domestically unpopular war like our involvement in Iraq.

The answer would have to be that the U.S. knows that Osama bin Laden and the operational heads of Al Qaeda are not in Afghanistan and are never likely to return.


Blogger DrewL said...

Any acknowledgment of the U.S. actually negotiating with the Taliban or Al-Qaeda would contradict everything the Bush administration has been trying to sell to the American people since 9/11/01. But, clearly, Afghanistan was merely a way station on the road to Iraq. And the U.S. could use the troops assigned to Afghanistan, uh, in Iraq for instance.

12/01/2005 8:13 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


I had originally thought that we may need the troops for duty in Syria or Iran.

I have since received word that we are simply laying the groundwork for an American pull-out of Afghanistan following the parlimentary elections there in Sept. 2006.

12/02/2005 9:26 AM  

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