In London, Karzai Dares Taliban to Join Peace Talks
Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has said his country must reach out to its “disenchanted brothers” in an effort to stabilise the war ravaged nation.
Addressing a one-day international conference on Afghanistan’s future in London, the British capital, Karzai said that fighters who are “not part of al-Qaeda or other terror groups” must be reconciled with the government.
The specific plan is to establish a reconciliation initiative that focuses on district-by-district Taliban outreach. In the past, the Karzai government’s security ministers have said that they wanted to target mid-level Taliban for reconciliation, while using jobs packages to lure away and reintegrate Taliban foot soldiers. This new initiative appears more comprehensive. The New York Times:
“We see this program as the main pillar for bringing peace to Afghanistan,” said Shaida Mohammed Abdali, the deputy national security adviser.
“There’s an ideological motive for an insurgency like this, and the trouble will not be resolved unless you reach out to the leadership; they are the food of the foot soldiers and where they are getting ideological and political incentives. If we only concentrate on the foot soldiers it will not be a sustainable program.”
Karzai seeks $1 billion for his initiative from the London conference. But the question remains: why, absent a loss of momentum through military setback, would the Taliban leadership be interested in reconciliation?