“Officials say the new tactics are to identify ‘Talibs who are sick of fighting’ and persuade them to rejoin their tribes and benefit from the human rights laws and state structures being set up in the country.” Good luck with that, but it is certain to come up against the objection that such things are “un-Islamic.” But that is territory that neither the British nor any other Western powers wishes to venture into.
“Britain switches tactics to undermine the Taliban,” by Richard Norton-Taylor in The Guardian, :
Britain has launched a “reconciliation” drive to undermine support for the Taliban after Whitehall strategists concluded that a decisive military victory in Afghanistan cannot be won, the Guardian has learned.
In a significant shift in tactics, senior British officials have stopped talking about winning a war. “We do not use the word ‘win’,” one said. “We can’t kill our way out of this problem.”
The admission came as Des Browne, the defence secretary, announced a larger than expected 1,400 increase in British troops deployed in southern Afghanistan, with extra armour, artillery, and aircraft. It brings the total number there to 7,700, more than there are in Iraq.
Officials say the new tactics are to identify “Talibs who are sick of fighting” and persuade them to rejoin their tribes and benefit from the human rights laws and state structures being set up in the country. Captured fighters may also be offered alternatives to incarceration, while more deals will be sought with tribal elders.
They hope increasingly to damage the Taliban without relying on a shooting war, a tactic which has often proved counter-productive in the past, notably when Nato air strikes kill civilians. “We are convinced most people do not support the Taliban and want to take a route through it,” said one source. British officials distinguish the Taliban from al-Qaida, describing it as a “more fluid” organisation.
Contrasting the Taliban with al-Qaida, a one said: “Al-Qaida’s operations are more sophisticated than the Taliban and al-Qaida is very choosy about who they work with.”
An official familiar with British policy on Afghanistan described the difference this way: “The Taliban is not a homogenous group. It is a mixture of characters – criminals, drug dealers, people out of work. There is a wide variety of different people. The Taliban pays them to carry out these attacks so there are ways to tackle the problem, to split off the disillusioned.”