US Downplays Hopes for Afghan Reconciliation

Timing 'Not Right,' Gates Insists

by Jason Ditz, March 24, 2010

With the Karzai government entering into face-to-face peace talks with the insurgent faction Hezb-e Islami earlier this week, the United States seems to be going out of its way to downplay the chance of any diplomatic resolution of the ongoing war.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned that the timing for peace talks was all wrong, because the Taliban leaders aren’t convinced that they’re going to lose the war. The Taliban has so far officially shunned the peace process, saying they would only consider it if the NATO forces withdrew from the nation.

The situation in Afghanistan has continued to worsen year over year, and 2010 is expected to be no different. In fact nearly nine years into the war it is the lack of progress which has been the driving force behind the call for reconciliation with the insurgency.

The Obama Administration seems to believe such peace talks can only come when the war is demonstrated to be winnable, yet it is the very unwinnableness of the war that drives the need for such talks.

The latest hopes were driven by the Hezb-e Islami’s offer to act as a “go-between” to the Taliban. Their ability to do this is very much in doubt, as the groups have never been on particularly good terms.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz