May 19, 2010

Kabul and Taliban Rendezvous in Maldives

So there’s a logical reason for a bunch of Taliban gathering in the Maldives. Free visas for Afghans don’t normalize this business vacation: forty-five delegates from the Kabul government, “major political parties,” and the Taliban on a tropical island, weighing Afghanistan's fate and all those entwined within it.

The meeting is organized by Jarir Hekmatyar, son-in-law of Gulbadin Hakmatyar, an Afghan warlord, leader of the Hezb-e-Islami party, and ancient CIA channel.

Al Jazeera reports
, “Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, is unhappy that the talks are taking place, but has sent observers to hear what is discussed. His position has been echoed by the Taliban, which has drawn the line at full participation, but has sent representatives in an unofficial capacity.”

Reporter Dan Nolan says that Western officials have been deliberately excluded from the process. "There are no international observers here. The people organizing these talks say these are Afghan problems that need Afghan solutions.”

While little is likely to be accomplished at the talks, that is mainly the point. America and Afghanistan’s strategy to reintegrate and negotiate with Taliban remains random, steered without direction or agreement. Washington has no intention of actually negotiating with the Taliban, making reintegration unlikely.

It’s unwise though to force a drawn out battle that neither the West nor Afghanistan cannot afford.

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