A Win-Win Situation
A negotiated solution to the Afghan imbroglio is now seen as the only viable option to bring an end to the nine-year old war in Afghanistan.
One of the several myths about the invincibility of the Afghan land is Alexander the Great’s Afghan campaign that started in the summer of 330 BC and continued until the spring of 327
Having been described as the lengthiest and most difficult of Alexander’s adventures, it came to an end only when the great warrior entered into an alliance with a top warlord by marrying his daughter, Roxane.
One other key aspect of the campaign was that the invading army was fighting against free tribesmen instead of a regular army.
After removing the Taliban from power more than nine years ago, the United States and its NATO allies, with their latest war machinery and spending billions of dollars, are yet to overcome the rag-tag militia to bring order to the war-battered Af- ghanistan.
Though there is a big difference in the situation now and the one at the time of Alexander’s adventure, the current situation is not as simple as to be settled by a single marriage (as did Alexander) A marriage of convenience between the warring sides and their backers cannot be ruled out as one of the possible solutions.
Besides the Afghan people, key members of the NATO alliance, both military and civilians, are now speaking about talks with the Taliban, once considered to have been eliminated or forced to surrender through the use of force.
A recent statement by Germany’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Michael Steiner, last year’s statement from the head of the British Armed Forces, General David Richards, and the Jeddah Conference earlier this month, indicate that an urge for a negotiated solution to the Afghan imbroglio is now being seen as the only viable option to bring an end to the nineyear-old war.
How the Taliban managed to regroup and regain their strength after their defeat in late 2001 and why they could not be eliminated despite the use of all possible means by the international community, are the key questions and certainly need answers before any solution is found.
Since negotiation is the key word to arrive at a settlement and end the war, the most important questions are: Negotiations with whom or which
Can Taliban be brought to the negotiation table?