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.

Southasia - - Region - By Daud Khat­tak

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?

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