Wednesday 9 December 2009

Another Taliban statement in favour of negotiations

The Taliban's latest (unsigned) statement, issued yesterday, about President Obama's troop surge in Afghanistan makes some interesting claims about the alleged failure of coalition military operations in Helmand this summer. It also says that Washington has rejected a Taliban offer of peace (issued last week) based upon a Taliban guarantee not to meddle in the internal affairs of other countries. Not sure that this is true.
As if trying to reassure the West, the statement also refers to US national security advisor James Jones stating that most foreign fighters have left Afghanistan. This is probably a referrence to an interview he gave CNN on 4 October, when he said the "maximum estimate" for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was around 100 fighters. There has been other reporting suggesting a substantial falling out between the Quetta Shura and al-Qaeda, although this matter is still unclear and some reports say pro-war officials close to the White House have been playing up Taliban-al-Qaeda relations. Whichever way you look at it, this Taliban statement and several others issued recently (see below) clearly indicate a willingness to negotiate.

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