Whispers of Surrender in Afghanistan?
It comes to our attention that the MEMRI Blog highlights an article from the Saudi al-Watan in Arabic that - according to an Afghan source - the United States is talking to the Taliban seeking to trade control of 5 provinces in exchange for the cessation of attacks on US bases. MEMRI summarizes:
An Afghan source in Kabul reports that U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry is holding secret talks with Taliban elements headed by the movement's foreign minister, Ahmad Mutawakil, at a secret location in Kabul. According to the source, the U.S. has offered the Taliban control of the Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, Kunar and Nuristan provinces in return for a halt to the Taliban missile attacks on U.S. bases.
Kunar province borders the Khyber Pass region where the majority of US and NATO supplies pass enroute from Pakistan. And the remaining four provinces constitute fully the southern 25% of Afghanistan's territory.
This, if true, is a disturbing development.
I have tried to come up with scenarios of why someone would lie about it in a leak. What would be to gain? Who would gain, and what would they gain? Without sleeping on it, the options for such appear narrow at best.
What does seem logical is that an Afghan privy to the negotiations could have become (rightly) spooked that they might just pull it off, and leaked word in hopes that it might so anger American public opinion that the entire endeavor might be scrapped. That's the most logical explanation for motivation I see at the moment.
It would also fit in consistently with Ambassador Eikenberry's leaked cables recently railing against a 'surge' in forces in Afghanistan. He wouldn't voice such without thinking he has his hands on something else. Could this be it? The surrender of 25% of Afghan territory in exchange for some form of ceasefire?
One would hope not. But if so, this demonstrated type of 'effort' in Afghanistan would prove to be the strongest indication that it may be time to advocate the full pullout of American forces from Afghanistan.
If this is true, then not one more drop of American blood for a path that resembles Pakistan's path. You recall Pakistan's series of surrenders touted as agreements, right?
- InBrief 2006: Pakistan Cedes North Waziristan to Taliban
- RapidRecon 2008: Farewell Optimism: Miranshah II = Miranshah I in North Waziristan
Yeah. How's that working out for Pakistan these days? And we want some of that? Do we?
- Chapomatic gives a quick independent translation of the Arabic al-Watan article.
- Meet the Taliban leader we're dealing with, via the UK's Telegraph
- Via the CS Monitor, unhelpful advice: Pakistan to US: Don't surge in Afghanistan, talk to Taliban
UPDATE: Please see: US Embassy Denies Secret Eikenberry Talks With Taliban