Everyone’s talking about talking to the Taliban. But before we jaw-jaw, there will be more war-war.
Don’t even ask Mullah Sabir about peace talks. There’s nothing to talk about, says the tall, burly Afghan, one of the Taliban’s highest-ranking commanders. “This is not a political campaign for policy change or power sharing or cabinet ministries,” he tells NEWSWEEK at a textiles shop on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. “We are waging jihad to bring Islamic law back to Afghanistan.” The refusal to negotiate comes straight from the Taliban’s supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, says Sabir, who did not want his full name used: “The tone of his rejection has been so strong from the first that no one would dare to raise the subject with him.” The trouble is, Sabir hasn’t seen Mullah Omar in years, and he doesn’t know of anyone who has. Internet posts released in Mullah Omar’s name on Muslim holy days are the only hint that the one-eyed Commander of the Faithful is still alive. All the same, Sabir says he and thousands of other Taliban won’t stop fighting until they’re back in power.
Rest assured, Mullah Omar or no Mullah Omar, the Taliban, in principle, is not looking to make peace, but, as Mullah Sabir states, simply to enforce sharia law.
Everyone seems eager to talk peace in Afghanistan””except the only people who can turn the wish into a fact. The Taliban’s brutal insurgent ally Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has endorsed the idea of negotiations; so has the U.S. defense secretary, Robert Gates. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah personally hosted an exploratory discussion in Mecca between Afghan and Pakistani officials and former Taliban members during Ramadan, and last week Afghan and Pakistani tribal elders and politicians held a two-day meeting in Islamabad. But Mullah Omar’s fighters aren’t about to quit while they’re on a roll. The number of Coalition deaths in Afghanistan since May has exceeded U.S. deaths in Iraq for the first time since the invasion of Iraq. The Afghan insurgency, which seemed as good as dead in 2004, has come back strong…
This should say it all. If in fact the Taliban is “on a roll,” why would it ever want to negotiate with the infidel enemy? According to sharia law (which is what they are fighting for) negotiations, peace-talks, and, in short, truces — hudna — are valid only when the jihadists are weak, and in need to take a break and regroup. In the words of the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s companion Abu Darda: “We smile to the face of a people while our hearts curse them.” If the Taliban is winning, why smile? That’s reserved for times of weakness.