Over the last few days there has been unconfirmed reports that the US have initiated talks with the Taliban with a view to ending the war that’s been going on in Afghanistan for the last ten years. Yesterday, Defence Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that, indeed, such talks have been taking place.
Was it not inevitable that this was the only way it was ever going to end anyway? Various professionals had said all along that the allies could never win their war against the Taliban. In October of last year, Australian ex-Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, an extreme right-wing conservative, said that a military victory would be “impossible”. In July 2009, British soldier, diplomat, academic and Afghanistan scholar, Rory Stewart, writing in the UKs Daily Telegraph told his readers that essentially the war is unwinable and negotiating is the only way to resolve the crisis. Back in October 2008 senior British commander, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith who had served in Afghanistan with the British 16th Air Assault Brigade had said quite emphatically that “we are not going to win this war”.
The allies have known the war was unwinable since at least 2008 yet did nothing. Since then more than 1600 allied soldiers have been killed, while it is conservatively estimated that some 7307 civilians have been killed, and untold numbers of Taliban and insurgent fighters, certainly numbering in their thousands and possibly tens of thousands, have also been killed.
Experts have been urging that the parties negotiate an end to the war for years but the warmongering neocons influenced allied governments never listened. How many more have to die before these loonies learn that they can’t win?
There’s nothing new about the idea of having talks with the Taliban; it’s just that the longer they are held off, then the more people from all sides will continue dying.