The Taliban: Should we Negotiate?

Jack Layton and the NDP’s suggestion that Canada pull our troops out of Afghanistan has provoked cries of « cut and run. »  But is it such a dumb idea?  The Taliban is now in effective control of almost half the country.  The writ of the elected government under Karzai scaceley runs beyond the outskirts of Kabul.  There is considerable support for the Taliban in the country’s largest ethnic group, the Pashtuns. Many military experts say we cannot defeat the Taliban in an endless war.

           So why not sit down with the Taliban and see whether we can build from what we might have in common.  Would there be peace in Northern Ireland today if the British and Irish governments had not sat down with the terrorist IRA?   If guns won’t achieve our objectives, why not try diplomacy?  Wasn’t it Churchill who said « it’s better to jaw jaw than to war war »? 



  1. 1
    Rob V. Says:

    I would agree with you Neil if the Taliban were anything like the IRA. The IRA wanted freedom to exist as an independent Ireland (not that I condone how they sought it). The Taliban and the terrorists support are killing anyone who they claim to be infidels – as in, anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their perverted interpretation of Islam. I honestly don’t know how one can negotiate with that kind of thinking.

  2. 2
    SUZANNE Says:

    Negotiate with one of the most evil regimes in the world? Negotiate with people who want you to convert or die?

    You can’t negotiate with people who won’t negotiate. The whole concept is ludicrous.

    The whole reason we are there is precisely because they harboured terrorists. The best predictor of future results is past results. If they harboured terrorists in the past, allowed them to train, and allowed them to carry out terrorist activities in the West, what do you suppose will be the result of allowing the Taliban of regaining power?

  3. 3

    Hi Neil! Thank you for all of your wonderful blogs! I love them all as I do you!

    Considering all the extremely difficult and exceedingly challenged personalities I have had to engage with in my life, and bearing in mind that much success has resulted, it is absolutely worth a try to even sit quietly with members of the Taliban, each side saying absolutely nothing, for one hour.
    Just tolerating each other’s presence for sixty minutes, in silence, like a meditation, might possibly plant a seed. Is that not prefereable to lodging another bullet? I do not have to be friends with certain people whose religious ideals I do not espouse, but we can all begin to respect the same stoplights as we circulate in the same city/world together.

  4. 4

    It would not have been so long ago, Eleanor, that I would have thought your idea that enemies should sit down and meditate together, was totally impractical. Now I think it’s spot on. Togetherness in silence is surely more potent than the noise of guns.
    Certainly we are getting nowhere with guns in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Why not try thinking outside the box (that we are in.)
    Thanks for the suggestion. It’s a good one.

  5. 5
    Rob V. Says:

    And while you sit there, eyes closed, humming away the bad things of the world, they blow your head off.

    Great plan.

  6. 6
    Neil McKenty Says:

    You are exactly right. They’ve blown more than 2700 heads of American boys off already in Iraq with more to come. They are blowing heads off in Afghanistan as we speak. Another Canadian soldier’s head was blown off today.

    Meanwhile the George Bush sits there in the White House, eyes closed, humming away and according to a new book by Woodward in a « State of Denial. » Could at least an attempt at negotiation be worse than what we’ve got now?

  7. 7

    Lo and behold, Bill Frist, the arch conservative Republican majority leader in the Senate has come out in favour of negotiating with the Taliban. So is Republican Seanor Mel Martinex from Florida. « A political solution is how it’s all going to be solved » said Martinez. Let’s hope Steven Harper is listening before too many more Canadians are killed.

    It isn’t as though we have not tried the negotiating route before. We negotiated with the FLQ during the October crisis in 1970. Tony Blair negotiated with the IRA. George Bush negotiated with Lybia’s Gadhafi and with « the evil empire ».

    Let’s give negotiations with the Moderates in the Taliban a chance. After all it can’t be worse than what is happening now.

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