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article imageAfghans not interested in killing Taliban - A Western fixation

By Karl Gotthardt     May 11, 2013 in Politics
Kabul - "Now that the sonovabitch is dead, why is the US still angry with us?"
"Us", in this conversation, are the Taliban. The SOB in question is Osama bin Laden. This is a quote relayed by Yahya Maroofi, Counsellor to Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai. reports that Yahya Maroofi was expressing the frustration of the Taliban as he was attending a little known peace negotiations with the Taliban in Kazakhstan. While there was no invitation to the US or UK, Turkey, Iran and the Taliban were present.
To understand why the Taliban are frustrated, especially those interested in participating in peace negotiations, one has to look at why the US and its allies got involved in Afghanistan in the first place. What were the stated aims of the war?
After the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, the United States quickly resolved that the attack was organized and orchestrated by Al Qaeda and that the terror organization operated out of Afghanistan and that its leader Osama Bin Laden was being harbored by the Taliban. The Taliban at the time controlled 90 percent of the country.
The Taliban agreed to remove Bin Laden and his training camps from the country but did not agree to hand him over to the US. The US refused to negotiate and on October 7, 2001 launched Operation Enduring Freedom with the help of the UK. The stated aim was to dismantle Al-Qaeda, the Islamist terrorist organization led by Osama bin Laden and to remove the Taliban power.
The U.S. and its allies quickly drove the Taliban from power and captured all major cities and towns in the country. Many Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders escaped to neighboring Pakistan or retreated to rural or remote mountainous regions. In December 2001, the U.N. Security Council established the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), to oversee security in the country and train the Afghan National Army.
Shortly after Hamid Karzai was selected to lead the Afghan Transitional Administration and was elected President in 2004. Osama Bin Ladin was captured and killed in a compound in Pakistan on May 2, 2011.
President Obama proudly declared that Osama Bin Ladin is dead and Al Qaeda is on the run. With all the stated aims of the war completed the war in Afghanistan should have come to a successful conclusion, but the US and its allies were heavily invested in the war torn country. At the time 100,000 US troops were in Afghanistan, in two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 4,000 US troops had paid the ultimate price and the US was involved in nation building, in an effort to create a country under its own image. Drone attacks into Pakistan continue to target the leadership of the Taliban.
Is this what Afghans want? According to Opednewss, the Taliban is not interested in killing Afghans and Afghans have no interest in killing the Taliban. The leadership in Kabul realizes that a peace settlement in Afghanistan is not possible without the participation of the Taliban. This raises the question why the Afghans are not asked what they want as far as the future of their country is concerned.
Maroofi, the minister into whose hands this future falls, takes a different tack entirely. He has no time for the American fixation on whether Afghans will fight the Taliban. He makes it clear that Afghans don't want to fight the Taliban at all. And the Taliban don't want to fight fellow Afghans.
But General Joe wants the Afghan army to prove its mettle in "fighting fellow Muslims and countrymen", as the Times puts it. It appears the US has a great fear that, without US boots on the ground and drones in the sky, the war will end, and with it, the Great (and very lucrative) Game.
However, it is the hope of most Afghans, and the goal of the Karzai government, not to kill Taliban, but to bring them into the government.
The General Joe referred to in the quote is General Joe Dunford the commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). While the US and its allies concentrate on preparing Afghan Security Forces to fight the Taliban, it seems obvious that the Afghans realize that peace in Afghanistan is only possible with the participation of the Taliban.
While Afghanistan is secretly holding negotiations in Kazakhstan with interested front line states and the Taliban, Hamid Karzai continues to pay lip service to the US, which obviously sees the road to peace in a much different light. On May 9, Karzai offered nine permanent bases to the US after the 2014 withdrawal. The US said that it was not interested in permanent bases, yet it is planning on a residual force of 3-6,000.
The Afghan leader made his remarks at a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of Kabul University.
He said the US wanted "nine bases in Kabul, Bagram, Mazar, Jalalabad, Gardez, Kandahar, Helmand, Shindand and Herat".
"We think their presence beyond 2014 and our relationship with them are in the interest of Afghanistan," he said.
The US made clear that it had no interest in permanent bases in Afghanistan. While both sides hope to sign an agreement on post 2014 deployment soon, which would involve immunity from Afghan prosecution for US troops, there are also the negotiations in Kazakhstan without US and UK participation. To this point Germany is the only allied country that has agreed to leave some troops in Afghanistan as part of a residual force.
"The United States does not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan, and any US presence after 2014 would only be at the invitation of the Afghanistan government," White House spokesman Jay Carney said here Thursday.
Carney told reporters that the US military presence in Afghanistan would only aim "at training Afghanistan forces and targeting the remnants of Al Qaeda".
As the political games are being played, US and allied soldiers continue to pay the ultimate prize. During the past week 12 US and one German soldier were killed in Afghanistan. Two of the US soldiers were killed by Taliban they are supposed to train. Improvised explosive devices ((IED), road side bombs and "green on blue" attacks are the Taliban's preferred methods when dealing with NATO forces. During this year's spring offensive they are targeting Afghan Security Forces with coordinated attacks.
It is probably time to stop the madness, the waste of money and lives and realize that in the end Afghans will determine the future of their country, not foreigners. Lest We Forget.
Roll of casualties casualties
Below are this week’s updated DOD casualty figures:
Op Enduring Freedom Total Deaths KIA Non Hostile WIA
Afghanistan Only------------2085--------1725-----353------18480
Other Locations---------------119------------11-----112
DOD Civ Casualties-------------3-------- ----1---------2
Worldwide Total--------------2211--------1739------461---- -18480
Accumulated 2013 Casualties:
KIA Non Combat Deaths WIA
12 Killed 8 KIA WIA
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