Monday, July 12, 2010

Myth #2 Supported

If you read my last post, my contention that a withdrawal from Afghanistan equates to a returned Taliban Regime and a sanctuary for Al Qaeda is unsupported except by fear. I'm not the only one.......

Will the Taliban want to talk or will they decide - as pro-war boosters would have it - that they can outwait NATO then be in power in Kabul within a month?
Well, a think-tank friend points out that he's seen no serious examination of what is likely to happen if NATO withdraws. There's a lot of loose talk about a swift Taliban take over followed by the inevitable return of Al Qaeda but there's no study taking into account military capabilities as well as demographics, loyalty, motivation, possible comparisons with the slow takeover which took place after the Soviets withdrew etc. The absence of such a study may itself be significant. Last time, it took the Taliban six years to seize Kabul. This time they'd be up against a semi-established central government and US-equipped Northern militias probably supported from "over the horizon" by US firepower?  It begins to sound somewhat like the loose talk of Sunni insurgents taking over Iraq if the US withdrew which was all the rage among pro-war pundits in 2003-07, which anyone who'd spent even a little time getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of the various factions knew was rubbish.

If the Taliban, behind their talk of outwaiting occupying Western troops, have already done their own calculations about the chances of their taking over all of Afghanistan again - and come up short - then negotiations are available now and any delay is just causing death to no good purpose. That's pure speculation, to be sure, but without detailled studies of what the West thinks might happen should it negotiate a peace and withdraw then so are the doom-and-gloom warnings of the pro-war lobby. Peace without "winning" would still be a win...for everybody.
Steve Hynd - Newshoggers

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