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Saturday, January 30, 2010

$500m for ‘Safe Exit’ from Afghanistan’s Unforgiving History

“Those who do not learn from history, are condemned to repeat it” -George Santana
Dan Qayyum | Editor, PKKH

After 9 years of maintaining an expensive presence on Afghan soil, thousands of lives and billions wasted in aid and reconstruction efforts, not to forget bribes to warlords and drug barons, the US and its allies have come up with a real gem of an idea – trying to buy themselves a safe exit from the Afghan mess for a cool $500m.
The world leaders gathered at the Afghanistan Conference in London seem to have realised the only hope left is to save face and exit Afghanistan with some dignity intact. Their offer of cash to the Taliban, laughable as it is, is a last ditch effort to save Hamid Karzai’s government by attempting to buy out his only real opposition in Afghanistan.
Taliban today control 33 out of 34 provinces of Afghanistan and are under no pressure to negotiate with the ‘Governor of Kabul’ – as he’s mockingly called in Afghanistan due to his rule being limited to parts of the Afghan capital. The momentum is with the Taliban and they are in a position to dictate terms. Therefore the plan to rope in ‘moderate’ elements of the Taliban by promises of cash and power is a non-starter.
The decision reached at the conference to invite Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to mediate with the Taliban and Kabul’s Government seems to have little point, even though it confirms what Pakistan has been saying for years – that there will not be a solution to the Afghan problem until the Taliban – who represent Afghanistan’s Pashtun majority – are ignored.

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