Memo: Britain Presses for Taliban Reconciliation

Says Effort Meant to "Weaken and Divide the Taliban"

The British government appears to be at the forefront of an effort to lure Taliban commanders into reconciling with the NATO-backed Afghan government, an effort through which hundreds of millions of dollars are expected to be spent.

But a memo regarding the strategy suggests that the government’s plan isn’t so much a power sharing deal, but rather a scheme to undermine the insurgency, saying it “must weaken and divide the Taliban” until the Afghan military can handle what is left.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been talking up reconciliation with elements of the former Taliban government for years, but the leadership has rejected the move saying Karzai was not sincere and also wasn’t in a position to make such offers, given his dependence of international forces to remain in power.

The revelation of the memo is likely to add fuel to the skepticism among Taliban leadership about such overtures, and with the insurgency setting up its own rival government in some parts of the country the hopes to undermine the group are likely to give way to the reality that the Taliban simply are not going to be removed from some parts of the nation.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.