The long rumored negotiations with the Taliban are nearly official. Official would be the final stage of the cognitive dissonance that the Obama administration has demonstrated on this issue.
The Taliban today is the same Taliban we saw 11 years ago. ‘Taqqiya’ will dominate these negotiations. Taqqiya being the Islamic concept that lying and making deals you have no intention of honoring is acceptable when dealing with non Muslims when you are not in a position of overwhelming strength. Convenient!
U.S. policy regarding not negotiating with terrorists has been disregarded any number of times over the years, typically utilizing back channel options. This time it’s right out there in the public square. The fact that shortly after announcing U.S. intentions President Karzai refused to participate is telling. Perhaps because he knows that the U.S. has no idea what it’s doing and he’ll one of the first to find himself on his knees facing the business end of a scimitar.
Non negotiation with terrorists has simple foundations. When you do negotiate with terrorists you recognize the viability of the terror organization as a political unit. When you negotiate, you reward the terror you, supposedly, are fighting against. You also reward those who have funded the terror. Perhaps most critically in this situation, you abandon your values for the potential reward of an agreement the other side has no intention of honoring. Not negotiating delivers the message to other terror organizations that terror will not get them where they want to go. Negotiating tells them to ‘keep it up boys’, we’ll get to you soon.
The Taliban, if memory serves, reduced Afghanistan to one of the purest Islamic societies on earth. Women; no rights, girls; no education, public executions, wandering gangs applying their version of Sharia with horrific violence, safe haven for bin Laden and al Qaeda; Islamic Fascism on full display. The Sunni Taliban also attacked Shia sects in Afghanistan. There is no difference between then and now. There has been no epiphany, no change in ideological grounding and no moderating influence. There has likely also been no change in how the Taliban will rule the country and rule they will, unfortunately with our help.
When we announced a date certain to be out of Afghanistan, the stage was set. The Taliban knew two things: wait it out and continue to inflict targeted pain on Americans. The ‘Green on Blue’ killings in Afghanistan were, in large measure, Taliban in the guise of Afghan soldiers. The Afghan military has long been infiltrated with Taliban and Taliban supporters, we just didn’t know who. The helicopter crash that killed sixteen SEALS was likely a Taliban operation.
The question prevails; what is the U.S. trying to accomplish? The negotiations are clearly in the Taliban’s interests but how will any agreements be insured? The Tajiks have guaranteed civil war should Karzai or the U.S. strike a deal with the Taliban. The coalition formerly known as the Northern Alliance has threatened the same. Karzai has reformed key counsels to demonstrate his commitment to conservative Islam, Iranian money is still flowing into Karzai’s pockets.
Key in this dynamic is that the Taliban maintains support from Pakistan. Pakistan will do what is necessary to insure that it is the most important outside force in Afghanistan. Pakistan needs, from their point of view, a secure Eastern border free of outside influence, especially from Western and Indian influence. A Taliban ruled Afghanistan insures that, keeping in mind that the Taliban in Pakistan is amongst the strongest if not the most violent sects in Pakistan.
The U.S. offer of negotiations only weakens an already weak hand.
The distinct possibility exists that the lives and treasure we’ve committed to Obama’s ‘good war’ will return us to exactly where we were in 2001, only worse. That is where dancing with the devil always gets you, you lose your soul.