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Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Afghanistan Opening the Door to Reconciliation with (Some) Taliban?

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Remember this, where we heard a former Taliban ambassador to the UN quoted saying this about one way to ensure bringing the Taliban to a loya jirga?

The first important thing is to lift the sanctions on the leaders of the armed opposition. They are blacklisted and multimillion-dollar rewards are offered for some leaders of the opposition. They have not been recognized as a legitimate part of the political process. But no such step has been taken place so far.  So it is not logical to invite a person who has a bounty of millions of dollars [on him for his capture and] ask him to give up his sanctuary and attend this Loya Jirga. He might get captured the next day and end up in Guantanamo Bay [prison]. Who will guarantee their safety?

Well, according to the New York Times and the German DPA news agency, Afghanistan’s United Nations envoy is asking the Security Council to “lift sanctions on elements of the Taliban that renounce violence and agree to support the government”.

It’ll be interesting to see:

1)  who Afghanistan, claiming they’re now willing to play nice-nice, asks to have removed from the the black list maintained by the United Nations Security Council’s Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee; and

2)  what the Taliban’s response will be, even though the most recent interview with the Taliban’s second-in-command Mullah Baradar (h/t to Juan Cole at the Informed Comment blog) suggests the Taliban’s centre still toes a harder line about talking to Karzai’s team in Kabul.

More on Baradar’s latest statement soon…

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