Talking to Taleban?

INCIDENTALLY, the rarest of admissions has come from the British defence secretary, that the Taleban “will need to be involved” if peace has to be advanced on the Afghan front.

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Published: Wed 26 Sep 2007, 8:53 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:05 AM

And considering he went on to imply that diplomatic engagement has become necessary “because they are not going away” just like Hamas was not exiting the Palestinian equation, the parallel amounts to a sharp rebuke at the method and manner in which the so-called war-on-terror is being advanced even though the wind has effectively been taken out of its sails.

Of course, it doesn’t take one of the wars defence chief to realise that things are grossly wrong practically everywhere the West is tackling ‘terrorists’, be it Hamas in Palestine, Taleban in Afghanistan, Hezbollah in Lebanon or splinter insurgent groups ravaging the length and breadth of Iraq. But since Washington chose to rubbish Baker-Hamilton recommendations, opting for the surge and taking refuge in political rhetoric ever since, it was widely believed that the trend would hold at least till the Bush administration’s course ran out with the end of ’08. Hence the surprise at the British defence establishment’s counter-punch. Apparently, fissures are appearing in the coalition not long after the terror-war led Tony Blair to political oblivion.

Significantly, if it has become important to practically sit across the table with the enemy and consider granting some of its wishes, the West has only itself to blame. In employing the more-muscle-than-brains approach, it has destroyed infrastructures across Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon while killing thousands, injuring and displacing millions more and reducing countless lives to utter misery forever.

Now, the terror-war protagonists find themselves in the unenviable catch-22 situation, with no possible option granting a quick-fix or a graceful exit. Without doubt, top priority is halting violence that is wasting scores of innocent lives on a daily basis. For that, it is indeed inevitable for generals representing Washington and London to sit at the negotiating table with ‘enemy combatants’ and discuss ways of controlling the carnage. What authority that would leave with the powerful West that was supposedly extracting revenge for the injustice of 9/11, determined to root out terrorism forever, is not very hard to determine.

However bad the options, the one reducing the killing must be taken. For that, the rare option is a step in the right direction.

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