16 October 2007
London faces up to reality and seeks deal with Taliban
The Exile loves a good Whitehall spin, especially when it is covering up a defeat for imperialism. Yesterday's Guardian gave an example of such spin in action when it reported that the British plan "to split the Taliban by securing the defection of senior members of the militant group and large numbers of their followers". The report goes on the state that quite a few Taliban have already given up the fight and are coming over to the Kabul government's side.
Buried a long way down the report is the killer paragraph:
At the same time, however, British officials have concluded that the Taliban is too deep-rooted to be eradicated by military means. Following a wide-ranging policy review accompanying Gordon Brown's arrival in Downing Street, a decision was taken to put a much greater focus on courting "moderate" Taliban leaders as well as "tier two" footsoldiers, who fight more for money and out of a sense of tribal obligation than for the Taliban's ideology.
The report then goes on to state that this policy has put London and Kabul at direct odds with Washington. . .
Translated from spin into English, the Taliban have fought the invaders to a standstill and now something has to be conjured up that will persuade at least some of them to stop fighting. What will happen if it fails is still anyone's guess, but the fact that London is flying this kite against Washington's wishes suggests to this writer that things are liable to go pear-shaped sooner rather than later.
The Taliban look set to retake a lot of the territory that they have lost during the recent fighting, and a new Taliban dominated region that includes a big chunk of Pakistan is clearly in the process of being created.
Given that, a deal with some warlords strikes this writer as the least worst option on offer. Of course all those warmongers who supported the invasion of Afghanistan because it would lead to a flowering of liberalism in the country are going to be rather disappointed as girls cease to be educated and heretics are killed, but the issue for imperialism now is not tossing a few scraps to the suckers back in Southern England in return for their support. The issue now is holding together something that can realistically be called Afghanistan, and avoiding another Iraqi style disaster.