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Taliban Talks May Be Undertaken In Afghanistan: Are They Likely, And Could They Be Successful?

ArmchairPolitiicianAfghanistan, August 24, 2017, by Brad Peery, WWW.ArmchairPolitician.US, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com

President Trump’s recently announced strategy for Afghanistan is under review. He is believed to endorse and open-ended commitment, but that probably means that about 4,000 additional troops will eventually be deployed. At the same time the Afghan special operations forces, will be doubled in size and trained by U.S. and NATO advisers.

The Taliban have been surging and according to a UN report, the Taliban controlled areas with 8.4 million Afghans at the end of 2016, up from 5 million a year earlier. The territories over which the Taliban controlled or has significant influence increased from 30% to 40% over that year. Any sustainable solution will need to involve successful negotiations with the Taliban. Since the Haqqani group and the Taliban are both financed by Pakistan, and have safe havens in Pakistan, the U.S. negotiations underway with Pakistan might have a positive effect in getting the Taliban to negotiate the 16-year war.

Also being questioned was Trump’s declaration that the U.S. government would no longer pursue “nation-building” in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The United States has invested billions of dollars in aid, advisers and projects to help build Afghanistan’s democracy and economy since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. With such a larger investment, it would seem to be unwise to not support Afghanistan’s fragile democracy

Armchair Politician Opinion:
The easy solution in Afghanistan is to negotiate a peace with the Taliban. Afghanistan is almost completely Sunni Muslim, as is Saudi Arabia, and the other Middle Eastern countries that have aligned to fight terrorism. The divisions in Afghanistan are along ethnic rather than religious lines. Afghanistan is made up mostly of Pashtun and Tajik ethnic groups. It also has minority Uzbeks and Hazaras and other smaller groups. Pashtuns, which also make up most of the Taliban, have dominated senior government and leadership positions in Afghanistan, leading to increased ethnic tensions and difficult internal military and government coordination.

If the Taliban will not negotiate, the U.S. presence could be a perpetual one so that the Taliban are denied a safe haven to attack the U.S.

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