Tags: afghan | war | conference | tlaiban

High Hopes for Afghan War Conference

Wednesday, 27 Jan 2010 10:07 AM


They say it is not about withdrawal - the word is said to sound weak and to frighten the Afghan and Pakistani governments.

But it looks as if the London conference on Afghanistan is partly about just that, wrapped up in policies about "transferring primacy" to Afghan forces and "talking to the Taliban".

It is about giving Western public opinion the confidence that there is a strategy not only for fighting the war but also for getting out of it.

And it is about putting pressure on the Afghan government to do more itself - governing better and fighting better.

The "they" who deny it is about withdrawal are officials from Western governments anxious to sell their policy of intervention at a time when public opinion is faltering.

Enticement to peace

This is especially true of the British government, which called this conference. Governments tend only to call such conferences when things are going badly. They do not need to when things are going well.

The conference, the officials say, will have three aims.

The first is to lay out a security plan. This will set up a "reintegration fund" to entice Taliban fighters, mainly locals, away from war into peace.

The problem with this is that it has been talked about before. In December 2007, British officials briefed about it. Little happened.

As for the Taliban leaders, President Karzai has had the UN remove five from a sanctions list banning international travel and freezing funds. They include the former Taliban foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil. More than 140 names remain on the list however. The president might also announce some sort of council or jurga.

Nobody thinks the Taliban leadership is ready to talk. Quite the reverse.

To read full BBC story — Go Here Now.

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2010-07-27
Wednesday, 27 Jan 2010 10:07 AM
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