Saturday, March 22, 2014

They just want to get rid of the foreign soldiers


And their overpaid stooge Karzai of the Afghans. If they get that people in Afghanistan actually hope the Taliban will go back to their homes and families.

Thirteen years of indecisive war in Afghanistan failed to stamp out the Taliban insurgency in what turned into a Sisyphean task as the U.S. prepares to leave the country for good by year’s end. U.S. firepower pushed the Taliban back into their remote strongholds in the vast Afghan countryside, but the ragtag fighters of the Islamist insurgency have proved resilient — perhaps, analysts say, because of help from neighboring Pakistan.

Not so, say the fighters featured in an upcoming Al Jazeera Fault Lines episode, “On the Front Lines With the Taliban.”

“If we see any Pakistani forces we’ll fight them too,” said one Taliban fighter, a man from Logar province, in eastern Afghanistan. “Whoever tries to conquer our country — Pakistanis or other foreigners — we’ll fight them until the end. Until there is not even one foreign soldier here, we will never make peace.”

Yet those fighting words belie a counterintuitive moment of hope for war-weary Afghans: If the Taliban are to be taken at their word, the imminent withdrawal of U.S. forces could diminish the insurgency’s raison d’être. The Taliban narrative of resistance loses steam once there are no foreign troops left to fight in Afghanistan. And with the country’s first democratic transfer of power just around the corner, many Afghans hope the group’s leadership-in-exile might be more receptive to the idea of peace talks with whoever takes over from outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who despite a recent chill with Washington is widely viewed as an American puppet.

The Taliban are ripe for talks and compromise,” said Ahmed Rashid, the Pakistani author of several books on Afghanistan and the Taliban, in a phone interview from his home in Lahore. The Taliban have sustained heavy casualties, and the leadership is ready to return home to Afghanistan, Rashid said.

“There is a peace lobby in the Taliban who will want to resume broken negotiations once the U.S. leaves,” he said. “But the Taliban will have to make an internal political decision after next month's elections. Everything is on hold until then.”

In reality, the withdrawal is expected to have a negligible impact on the balance of power between Afghan and Taliban forces — security responsibilities have long since been transferred to the Afghan National Army and its constituent forces. But it could not have come at a more pivotal moment for the fragile Afghan state.

In April, Afghanistan will hold elections, and while hopes are high for the democratic transfer of power, there are well-founded fears that the election results will be widely disputed, as they were in 2009.

If the elections are perceived as free and fair and the results are widely respected across Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic tapestry, democracy may resonate even in the most remote corners of the country still under Taliban control. Another disputed result, however, and the country’s fragile political framework could come crashing down as U.S. forces beeline for the exit.
And since we have no control over Afghan corruption, other than paying for it, we can probably expect some kind of collapse. At least it will be their collapse.

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