Mullah Omar Agrees To Peace Talks?
Consider this one unverified, but The Australian (h/t Small Wars Journal) is reporting that Capital-T Taliban leader Mullah Omar has reversed his position on negotiating a peace deal with the Karzai government:
“Mullah Omar has given the green light to talks,” said one of the mediators, Abdullah Anas, a former friend of Osama bin Laden who used to fight in Afghanistan but now lives in London.
A source negotiating for the Afghan Government confirmed: “It’s extremely sensitive but we have been in contact both with Mullah Omar’s direct representatives and commanders from the front line.”…
“A big, big step has happened,” Mr Anas said yesterday. “For the first time, there is a language of … peace on both sides.”
While stranger things have happened, representatives from the Afghan government told reporters in Washington a few weeks ago that they don’t seek reconciliation with Omar and his al-Qaeda-aligned Quetta Shura Taliban council. Instead they seek defeat. Assuming that line is the true government line, Omar would have to swear allegiance to the post-Taliban constitution before the government would think about dealing with him instead of arresting him. Which they might not even consider at all, since they said his crew was guilty of terrible crimes. (As they are.)
But who knows. Positions change, especially if there might be a reasonable prospect to end the war. Still, that’s doubtful. The Taliban are in possibly the best position they’ve been in since they were driven out of Kabul in 2001. Why would they seek peace now, particularly a peace on the Kabul government’s terms?
“Taliban are in a strong position now but that doesn’t mean they can control the state,” [Anas] said. “They are well aware that it’s a different situation to 1996 when they swept to power because Afghans saw them as bringing peace.”
Again, consider that unverified until further reporting emerges.