After all, the truce with the Taliban in North Waziristan in October of 2006 was such a smashing success — for the Taliban.
The risks are clear: Pakistan would have an excuse not to take action against the Taliban as long as “talks” are pending, or may enter into another disastrous agreement. The Taliban would have a means of buying time while playing both sides of the issue, continuing to fight, plot, and acquire more firepower while attempting to blackmail Islamabad with the threat of abandoning negotiations and unleashing a wave of attacks.
“Exclusive: Taliban, Pakistan said to have started peace talks,” from Reuters, November 21:
(Reuters) – Pakistan’s Taliban movement, a major security threat to the country, is holding exploratory peace talks with the government, a senior Taliban commander and mediators told Reuters on Monday.
The United States, the source of billions of dollars of aid vital for Pakistan’s military and feeble economy, is unlikely to look kindly on peace talks with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which it has labeled a terrorist group.
Past peace pacts with the TTP have failed to bring stability, and merely gave the umbrella group time and space to consolidate, launch fresh attacks and impose their austere version of Islam on segments of the population.
The discussions are focused on the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border and could be expanded to try to reach a comprehensive deal if progress is made.
The Taliban, who are close to al Qaeda, made several demands, including the release of prisoners and the withdrawal of Pakistani forces from South Waziristan, said the commander.
In other words, an end to Pakistani sovereignty in Pakistani territory. That should be a non-starter.
An ethnic Pashtun tribal mediator described the talks as “very difficult.” Pakistani military and government officials were not immediately available for comment.
“Yes, we have been holding talks, but this is just an initial phase. We will see if there is a breakthrough,” said the senior Taliban commander, who asked not to be identified.
“Right now, this is at the South Waziristan level. If successful, we can talk about a deal for all the tribal areas,” he said, referring to Pashtun lands along the Afghan border.
The Taliban will break the deal, and accuse Pakistan of doing so if challenged. It will keep the concessions it has won, and resume fighting for more.
The TTP, allied with the Afghan Taliban movement fighting U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, is entrenched in the unruly areas along the porous frontier….