5 years ago
I recently spoke with Nathaniel Fick, a former Marine officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught at the counterinsurgency school in Kabul, and who is currently a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, who thinks that negotiating with the Taliban right now is a bad idea. “If we open negotiations with the Taliban right now, we will be doing so from a position of weakness,” he says. “The trick for the next administration is to take the tactical and operational and strategic steps to get us into a position of strength where negotiation is an option.”
Regular readers of The Captain’s Journal will notice a familiar theme. Five months ago we published The Failure of Talking with the Taliban concerning our deal with Mullah Abdul Salaam for the town of Musa Qala. We said:
The history of negotiations with the Taliban has been disastrous, and every time they have been tried, the losers end up being Afghanistan and the ISAF because the “negotiations” are not occurring from a position of strength.
This theme has been periodically repeated ever since. From On Negotiating with the Taliban:
As for the mistaken effort to get the Saudis to collaborate and win the peace, the Taliban clearly aren’t interested. Why should they be, since they are winning? Negotiating in this instance is a sign of weakness.
Hamid Karzai recently continued his boyish, pathetic swoon over Mullah Omar, saying that he would go to “any length” to protect Omar during negotiations. But how does the Taliban reciprocate this unseemly display by Karzai? “Taliban spokesman Qari Yousif told CNN that Karzai’s offer is meaningless because he has to rely on the British and the Americans to provide his own security.” In other words, Karzai is offering to negotiate from a position of weakness rather than strength, says the Taliban – the same thing we said five months ago.
So Nathaniel Fick is right, but of course, so were we.