This report explains:
“Key civilian leaders under President Barack Obama have put a focus on political reconciliation, arguing that many rank-and-file Taliban are simply seeking a livelihood and can be co-opted.”
The purpose of jihad in all its forms is to impose Islamic law. The refusal to acknowledge that reality leaves officials desperately chasing rabbits known as “underlying causes,” in the blind but adamant faith that there must — must — be something driving Islamic jihad other than, well, Islam.
But what do the Taliban and al-Qaeda have in common? They are jihadist groups dedicated to the imposition of Islamic law, and the brutal treatment of any person or nation (or ancient Buddhist statue) that stands in the way. One has a global reach; one is a regional operation. But the goal is the same.
Now… how does one hope to “split” that? The hope is that the Taliban fighters are largely insincere about this agenda and just want a paycheck. As the military saying goes, “hope is not a method.” In any event, it is not a good method, and even less so when “hope” translates into throwing good money after bad in fruitless attempts to buy loyalty from a fighter who knows, as Muhammad said, that “War is deceit.”
“Clinton: Split Taliban from Al-Qaeda,” from Agence France-Presse, February 18 (thanks to JCB):
NEW YORK (AFP) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced hope Friday that military efforts would split the Taliban from Al-Qaeda, laying the groundwork for a political solution in Afghanistan.
In a speech at the Asia Society in New York, Clinton reaffirmed US plans to start reducing troops in July and complete the drawdown by the end of 2014 as Afghans take charge of their war-torn country.
Clinton said the surge in US-led troops over the past year was part of a strategy to “split the weakened Taliban off from Al-Qaeda and reconcile those who will renounce violence and accept the Afghan constitution.”
The top US diplomat said that the Taliban faced a similar choice as in 2001, when the United States toppled the hardline Islamic regime for hosting Al-Qaeda leaders who planned the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.
“Today, the escalating pressure of our military campaign is sharpening a similar decision for the Taliban: break ties with Al-Qaeda, renounce violence and abide by the Afghan constitution and you can rejoin Afghan society.
After all, the Afghan constitution has paved the way for a government that often differs from the Taliban in little more than name and the pretense of friendship with the West. Just ask Musa Sayed. Or the women for whom a Shi’ite family law legalized marital rape.
“Refuse and you will continue to face the consequences of being tied to Al-Qaeda as an enemy of the international community,” Clinton said.
“They cannot wait us out. They cannot defeat us. And they cannot escape this choice.”
The relationship between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban has long been a source of contention within US policy circles.
After the September 11 attacks, president George W. Bush’s administration described the two groups as virtually indistinguishable. US troops, now led by General David Petraeus, have focused on taking the fight to the Taliban.
But key civilian leaders under President Barack Obama have put a focus on political reconciliation, arguing that many rank-and-file Taliban are simply seeking a livelihood and can be co-opted.
“I know there are some on Capitol Hill and elsewhere who question whether we need anything more than guns, bombs and troops to achieve our goals in Afghanistan,” Clinton said.
“As our commanders on the ground will be the first to say, that is a short-sighted and ultimately self-defeating view. We will never kill enough insurgents to end this war outright,” Clinton said.
Petraeus, who has sought time for the military strategy, is widely expected to step down in the medium-term, although the Pentagon denied a British newspaper report that he has decided to leave this year….