Three-fifths of the British public believe the government should enter negotiations with the Taleban, as it emerged this morning that the Taleban themselves are unwilling to negotiate.
Three-fifths of the British public believe the government should enter negotiations with the Taleban – just as it emerged this morning that the Taleban themselves are unwilling to negotiate, with foreign governments or the Afghan administration, until coalition forces leave the country.
Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahedd released a statement to the BBC this morning saying:
“We do not want to talk to anyone – not to [President Hamid] Karzai, nor to any foreigners – till the foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan.
“We are certain that we are winning. Why should we talk if we have the upper hand, and the foreign troops are considering withdrawal, and there are differences in the ranks of our enemies?”
Yet in a poll for the Politics Home website, largely undertaken before the Taleban’s statement, 60 per cent of respondents believe NATO should enter negotiations with some elements of the Taleban, with only 26 per cent saying no negotiaions should take place, while just 23 per cent believe the coalition’s aims are fairly or very clear compared with 69 per cent who think they are fairly or very unclear.
The latest developments come a week after General David Petraeus replaced Gen. Stanley McChrystal as head of coalition forces in Afghanistan. The BBC’s Foreign Affairs Editor John Simpson today wrote of Gen. Petraeus:
Gen. Petraeus will no doubt try to replicate his remarkable Iraqi success in Afghanistan. Yet it will be harder, and doubts about the value of the operation are already growing in every Nato country.
His main aim will be to reverse the growing belief in Afghanistan that the Americans, the British and the others will pull out soon, and leave the country to fight out its own war – with the Taliban the likely winners.
It is likely to be the hardest fight of his career.
Gen. Petraeus this afternoon briefed NATO on the progress of the war, saying there was no intention of changing the rules of engagement but the alliance would look “very hard at how the rules are implemented and ensure that there is even implementation across all units”.
Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by becoming a Left Foot Forward Supporter today.
“There has been tough fighting and tough casualties… but we are determined to achieve progress in coming months. In counterinsurgency, the human terrain is the decisive terrain, and you must do everything possible to reduce civilian casualties… in the course of military operations.”