Of course, they’ve already specified their “gesture”: they want Taliban figures released, and others taken off a U.N. sanctions list. In other words, we’re supposed to make it easier for the Taliban to fight, for the sake of peace.
So… what’s in it for us? One might be afraid to ask if we get a “gesture.” “Afghan peace council members want gesture from US,” by Deb Riechmann for the Associated Press, October 12:
KABUL, Afghanistan – Releasing Taliban figures detained at Guantanamo Bay and scratching scores of others off the U.N. sanctions list would jump-start peace talks aimed at ending the 9-year-old war, members of Afghanistan’s new peace council said Tuesday.
The council members, who hold their first business meeting on Wednesday, said goodwill gestures from the U.S. and international community could spur reconciliation talks — perhaps at a neutral location in Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Egypt or Turkey.
The momentum for a political solution has been slowly building in Afghanistan as public support for the war has waned in the West. The renewed push for peace comes as the last of 30,000 U.S. reinforcements have arrived in Afghanistan, pushing deeper into areas long held by insurgents.
Many top military and diplomatic leaders have publicly supported peace efforts, though they remain skeptical that insurgents are ready to lay down their arms, embrace the Afghan constitution and sever ties with al-Qaida and other terrorist networks.
Ethnic minorities and women, who were repressed under the Taliban, have expressed concerns about what any deal with the militants would bring. Most members of the Taliban are Pashtuns, the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. The minority Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras are not likely to sit quietly on the sidelines if Karzai, a Pashtun, makes a deal with insurgents….