Taliban peace talks not as exciting as they appearhttp://www.iowastatedaily.com/
Posted: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 12:07 pm | Updated: 5:04 pm, Wed Oct 20, 2010.
By Youssef Hanna, Daily Columnist
Afghan president Hamid Karzai confirmed Monday that his government has been holding talks with the Taliban, according to Voice of America news website; news that was praised by Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. envoy to the region. While this news sounds optimistic, the question is, why would people expect these talks to be a success? Why would Taliban stop fighting and agree to be replaced with a democratic system?
If we learned something from history, it is that no political system was ever replaced by another system willingly.
When a political movement or system is substituting another one, regardless of whether the new system is liberating the people from a previous dictator or is a replacement of one dynasty of dictators with another one, the new system has to completely eliminate the previous system.
For instance, Louis XVI and his supporters were executed because there was no possible way they could be part of the new government in France established by the French Revolution, whose intention was to get rid of the monarchy lead by Louis XVI and his predecessors.
Some people might argue that the U.S. has been ferociously fighting Taliban for the last nine years in Afghanistan, so maybe after all this fighting Taliban is finally convinced to give up.
The U.S. recently launched an offensive in Kandahar based on this hope. The bet is that the Kandahar operation, backed by thousands of U.S. troops and billions of dollars, will break the mystique and morale of the insurgents, turn the tide of the war and validate the administration's Afghanistan strategy‚ which should allow withdrawal of troops to happen as planned to be in July 2011.
It seems that the Kandahar offensive was a success, as the negotiations are now on their way, and everything seems to be going according to the plan. Then what is the problem?
Well the main problem is U.S. troops, sooner or later, are leaving Afghanistan. For all the wars whose goal was to substitute one political system with another, the leaders of the new systems were eliminating the old systems leaders and supporters only to stay and rule the conquered land.
This by no means is happening in Afghanistan.
First, the Taliban are not eliminated; in fact, Taliban is gaining more grounds in Afghanistan. In November 2007, the London-based Senlis Council, estimated that the Taliban maintained a permanent presence in 54 percent of Afghanistan, and continued to exert influence on regions outside the central government's sphere of control, predominantly in southern and eastern provinces. By December 2008, the Taliban had expanded its sphere of influence to 72 percent of the country. In May 2009, 97 percent of Afghanistan had substantial Taliban activity.
Secondly, the pressure imposed on the Taliban caused by the crackdowns of U.S. troops on the insurgents supposedly causing the leaders to give up and agree on peace talks are eventually going to end when the troops leave. There is absolutely no guarantee the now supposedly suppressed Taliban will find anyone to suppress it after the U.S. leaves.
So, if you read more news in the future about peace talks with Taliban, or maybe that Taliban signed peace treaties or even that no more bloodshed is happening in Afghanistan, you may rejoice that the military inquisition has come to an end and the American troops will finally come back home; but hold off on celebrating that the job is done. You may hear soon after the withdrawal of the U.S. troops that Taliban, with no one in Afghanistan to stop them, have once again become rulers of Afghanistan.