Wednesday, August 10, 2011

US Secret Negotiations With The Taliban Crash And Burn

As I've mentioned here before, the Obama Administration has been negotiating with the Taliban directly for a ceasefire that would allow us to retreat gracefully for a few months now.

There really wasn't all that much to negotiate - President Obama wants us out of AfPak so he can pose as the man who brought our troops home come election time, and the Taliban likewise want us gone. The Pakistanis are detaining Taliban head Mullah Omar as a sort of prisoner/guest, and one of Mullah Omar's chief lieutenants, Tayeb Agha was handling the negotiations, which took place in Germany and Qatar earlier this year between Agha and other Taliban leaders and senior officials from the US State Department and Central Intelligence Agency.

The one thing the Taliban insisted on was absolute confidentiality. They didn't want to be seen as negotiating with the American infidels or making any public concessions, especially since their official stance is that they will defeat the Americans and force them to leave.

Unfortunately, news of the meetings 'mysteriously' leaked out, and news articles were published the Washington Post and Der Spiegel, even naming Tayeb Agha as the lead Taliban negotiator.

That's all it took. The Taliban spun this as routine talks about prisoner exchanges and broke off all contact. Tayeb Agha broke off all contact and American officials have not been able to contact him through intermediaries.

So...who leaked this to the media?

It wasn't anyone on the American team, or the Taliban, since both sides were working on getting exactly what they wanted.

No, according to one of my notorious Lil' Birdies, the leaks came from high up in the Karzhai government - maybe even from the top.

Hamid Kharzai and his cronies may make independent noises from time to time, but they like the idea of all that US government aid continuing and all those US and NATO forces staying there to keep them in power.

The status quo suits them fine, and they know that a deal with the Taliban puts them on borrowed time. So they took advantage of media outlets that should have known better to sabotage the negotiations.

Kharzai and his friends likely have their own back room deal going on with the Taliban anyway, probably along the lines that they'll give up power without a fight in exchange for reasonably friendly relations and being allowed to leave with the money they've squirreled away.

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B.Poster said...

Unfortunately I'm not surprised something like this would happen. America simply cannot keep a secret nor can we apply any pressure to anyone to keep a secret. Ultimately we are going to have to withdraw. Our forces are worn down, we're broke, and we don't have the financial ability or technical know how that is needed to bring our forces up to par with the major powers. It sure would have been better for all of us for the withdrawl to have been in a manner that would have been somewhat honorable.

Its also understandable why the Taliban would want the negotiations done in secret. Face saving is an important aspect of humman nature.

Furthermore its understanding why the media would want this leaked even though it should not have been. Due to rank anti-Americanism their are many in the media who wish to see America harmed and think this would be a good thing. As far as Der Spiegel is concerned, America is a strategic competitor of Germany, the EU, and other Western European countries. As such, they, the German government, and other Western European governments would view any thing bad happening to America as good thing for them, as it would weaken their strategic competitor.

These media outlets should be ashamed of themselves. Of course they won't be. Anti-Americanis is simply to profitable and to easy. Perhaps if the American government had acted to combat this anti-Americanism much sooner this might not have happened.

After the withdrawl of our forces they should be redeployed to defensible positions along our borders where at least they would have a fighting chance to defend our nation.

Perhaps we could negotiate with the Russians to have them guarnatee our safe passage out of the region. If we could have the most powerful military forces on earth guaranteeing our safe departure, this would certainly be helpful. In exchange for this, America would agree to withdraw all forces and installations from former Soviet and Eastern Bloc countries. These forces there hardly pose any kind of threat to Russia any way. Its not like they pose any kind of threat to them any way. As such, I don't think we'd be giving up much.

The primary problem is ensuring Russia honors its agreement with us. For example, they agree to guarantee our safe passage out of Afghanistan and we agree to withraw all support from former Eastern Bloc and Soviet countries. What if we keep our end but they fail to keep their end of the agreement. Due to the constant and very often hostile media scrutiny on America we will keep our agreement even if we did not want to. Russia faces no such scrutiny. There needs to be some way to ensure Russian compliance.

ER said...

whew, that was a close one...
very, very good news