Taliban Seeks ‘Office’ in Neutral Country for Peace Talks

Insurgency Can't Negotiate Reconciliation Out of Pakistan

According to a former ambassador for the Taliban government, the leaders of the insurgent faction are seeking permission to set up an “office” in a neutral country as a precondition to new reconciliation talks.

The ambassador, Mullah Zaeef, insisted that it was impossible for the Taliban to negotiate from inside Pakistan and Afghanistan, both because they could not ensure the safety of their negotiators and because Pakistan would insist on setting the agenda.

Pakistan’s government has been keen to be involved in the negotiations and officials within the government have also admitted to sabotaging previous efforts at peace talks because they were afraid of being “excluded.”

At the same time, Mullah Zaeef’s suggestion of possible locations for a foreign base of operations for the insurgency, including Japan and Turkey, seems extremely unlikely for either NATO or those countries to accept. As violence continues to rise in 2011 it seems more efforts at reconciliation will be called for, however, so it is unlikely the question of how and where the Taliban can negotiate from is going to vanish.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.